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BS 1830 .J6 A3 1918 


Joseph and Asenath 











INTRODUCTION . . . . . vii 


king's son and MANY OTHERS . 21 


DESCRIBED . . . . .22 


PHRES . . . . . .24 








TO DEPART . . . . -33 


OF THE HEBREWS . . . -37 
XII. ASENATH's PRAYER . . . . 40 

XIII. asenath's PRAYER {couti7iued) . . 42 


BE Joseph's wife . . . .47 


storehouse . . . . .5c 







ASENATH . . . . -57 

FROM PHARAOH . . . '59 


XXIII. Pharaoh's son tries to induce simeon 


XXIV. Pharaoh's son conspires with dan and 

ASENATH . . . . -67 

XXV. Pharaoh's son goes to kill his father, 






ENTREATY . . . . .75 

XXIX. Pharaoh's son dies, pharaoh also 





The " Book of Joseph and Asenath," or, as it 
is otherwise called, the " Confession and Prayer of 
Asenath," was made known to the medieval world 
in the Speculum Historiale of Vincent of Beauvais 
{circ. 1260) ; and a French version of his text, made 
by John de Vigny in the fourteenth century, was 
printed in 1495, and a German version in 1539 ; an 
Icelandic version also exists in MS. in the British 
Museum.^ Vincent's text was published by 
Fabricius in his Cod. Pseudepigr, V. 7"., and 
followed by a Greek fragment from the Oxford MS. 
Barocc. 148 (1713-23). About thirty years ago 
the present Provost of Eton (Dr. M. R. James) 
found in two MSS. in the library of Corpus College, 
Cambridge (288 and 424) the Latin text (obviously 
translated from Greek) of which Vincent's is an 
epitome; in 1889-90 M. Batififol published the 
complete Greek text from three Vatican and two 
Oxford MSS.,2 together with the Latin text, sup- 
plied by Dr. James, with a learned and illuminating 

^ Add. 1 1068 (dated 1745). 

2 Vat. Gr. 803 (A), Palat. Gr. 17 (B), id. 364, Bodl. Barocc. 
148 (C), id. 147 (D). Another MS. exists at Mt. Athos, and 
there is a modern Greek epitome in the seventeenth-century 
Bodl. MS. Roe 5. I take the references from Batiffol. 


introduction [Studia Patristica, fasc. i., ii.) ; and in 
1898 a new edition of the Greek (inaccessible to 
me) was published by V. M. Istrin in the Anti- 
quarian Publications of the Slav Commission of 
the Moscow Archaeological Society. A Syriac 
version is incorporated in the compilation known 
under the name of Zacharias Rhetor, published in 
Land's Anecdota Syriaca, Vol. III. (1870),^ where 
it is preceded by what purports to be a letter 
addressed to Moses of Ingila (known as having 
translated the Glaphyra of Cyril of Alexandria into 
Syriac after 550),^ in which the writer states that 
he has found the work in a very old Greek book, 
apparently at Rhesaina, at any rate in Mesopotamia, 
and asks for a translation and an explanation of 
the allegory (Oscogta), and the answer of Moses.^ 
From this we know that the Syriac version was 
made not later than 569 (the date of '' Zacharias "), 
and that it was translated from the Greek, which 
must therefore be presumed to be the original, and, 
as it was found in a very old book, must have been 
composed considerably earlier. A Latin translation 
of the Syriac by G. Oppenheim was published at 
Berlin in 1886. An Armenian version of the work 
appeared in the Mekhitarist Journal Bazinazep^ Nos. 
xliii., xliv. (Venice, 1885-6), and the latter part of 
the same text was published by A. Carriere, with 
a French translation, in the Nouveaux Melanges 

^ The published translations of " Zacharias " omit the book 
ofAsenath. A complete text of the whole compilation, with 
Latin translation, by myself for the Cor'piis Scr. Or. Chr. is 
now in the press. 

2 Wright, Syriac Literature, p. 112. 

3 Zach. Rh. i. 4-6. 


Orientaux (Paris, 1886). The Armenian was 
republished by Basile in the Apocr. Arm. V, T. 
(Venice, 1896)/ and an old Slavonic version, edited 
by S. Novakovic, appeared in Starine, the journal of 
the Agram Academy of Sciences, No. ix., in 1877. 
Besides these, Ethiopic and Arabic versions are 
known to have existed, and a Latin translation of 
the Arabic (dated 1460) is preserved at Vienna.''^ 


In the Book of Genesis Asenath is mentioned 
three times only; once it is stated that Pharaoh 
gave Joseph Asenath daughter of Potipherah, priest 
of On, to wife, and in the other two places she is 
said to have borne Manasseh and Ephraim to 
Joseph ; ^ but out of these dry bones the elaborate 
romance contained in our Book of Asenath has 
been constructed. Here Asenath is represented 
as a maiden of surpassing beauty whose hand is 
sought by the young men of highest position in 
the land, among them the eldest son of the king, 
but she lives in seclusion in a tower and regards 
all men with contempt. One day Joseph, while 
going round the land to collect corn, announces 
his intention of paying Potipherah a visit, and 

^ Inaccessible to me ; perhaps only a reprint. The Ar- 
menian version is mentioned by John the Deacon, who 
reformed the calendar in 1085 (Batiffol). An English trans- 
lation of the Armenian exists in The tlitcanonical Writings 
of the O. T. fou7id in the Ar^nenian MSS. of the Library of 
St. Lazarus^ translated into English by Rev. Dr. Jacques 
Issaverdens (Venice, 1901), pp. 92 ff. 

2 Vind. 4739. 

^ Gen. xli. 45, 50 ; xlvi. 20. 


Potipherah suggests to Asenath a project of 
marrying her to Joseph. This she rejects with an 
outburst of scornful anger and returns to the tower, 
but on seeing Joseph enter the court she declares 
him to be a son of God and is struck with remorse. 
Joseph having seen her at the window, she is 
called down to greet him, and, when he is told 
that she is his host's virgin daughter, he accepts 
her as his sister; but, when she is ordered to kiss 
him, refuses to allow her to approach as being an 
idolater, but prays for the blessing of God upon 
her. He then departs, promising to return a 
week later, and Asenath spends the intervening 
time in fasting and humiliation and finally in 
prayer. The archangel Michael then visits her 
and announces that she shall be Joseph's wife, 
after which he produces a miraculous honeycomb 
from which he gives her to eat, and then says that 
she has now eaten the bread of life and drunk the 
cup of immortality and been anointed with the 
chrism of incorruption. After Michael's departure 
Joseph is announced, and Asenath goes out to 
meet him, and, Joseph having also had a visit from 
the archangel, they meet as affianced bride and 
bridegroom. Potipherah then returns from his 
country house, where he has been spending the 
interval, and states that he will summon the guests 
to the marriage-feast immediately, but Joseph says 
that he must return to Pharaoh and obtain Ase- 
nath's hand from him.^ The marriage is then 
celebrated at the king's court, Jacob and his family 
come to Egypt and Asenath is presented to them, 

^ Necessitated by Gen. xli. 45. 


and the book ends with a story of the frustration 
of a plot by Pharaoh's son, with the assistance of 
Dan and Gad, to kill Joseph and get possession 
of Asenath. 

Composition and Object 

That the book in its present shape is the work 
of a Christian writer will be at once recognised by 
any reader, the references to the sacred bread and 
cup and chrism,^ by which the ceremonies of the 
Eucharist and Confirmation are clearly meant, 
being sufficient to place the fact beyond doubt ; 
but to this may be added the exaltation of virginity 
which we find throughout the book, and the promi- 
nence of the doctrine of forgiveness,^ which, though 
not unknown to the Jews, would hardly be made 
so conspicuous in a Jewish work.^ At the same 
time, however, there are passages which betray the 
hand of a Jewish writer. Thus, in the description 
of Asenath at the beginning it is said that she bore 
no resemblance to the Egyptian women but was in 
every respect like the Hebrew women, " tall as 
Sarah, and comely as Rebecca, and beautiful as 
Rachel," and in the account of Michael's visit there 
is a strange passage in which the angel says : 
" Take now the mantle from thine head, for that 
thou art to-day a pure virgin, and thine head is as 
of a young man ; " * though the Christian practice 

^ Chs. viii., XV., xvi., xix. 

2 Chs. xxiii., xxviii., xxix. 

^ Again in the addition to Ch. xvi. given by BD and the 
versions (see Section " The Text ") the sign of the Cross 
is indicated. 

* Ch. XV. 


was the opposite of this, that virgins should be 
veiled. Tertullian, however, in his treatise, De 
Velandis Virginibus, argues against men who con- 
tended that virgins should not be veiled,^ and on 
the strength of this M. Batiffol infers that it was 
the custom among the IMontanists or some similar 
sect not to veil virgins, and that our book was 
written in circles in which this custom prevailed. 
There is, however, no evidence for the existence of 
the practice among Christians outside Africa, while, 
on the other hand, it seems to have been a regular 
custom among Jews and other Semitic peoples to 
leave their women's faces exposed while they were 
unmarried, and to put on the veil when they married 
as a sign that they were the exclusive property of 
their husbands ; ^ and we may, therefore, fairly 
assign a Jewish origin to the passage in question. 
Another similar trace occurs in an earlier part of 
the book, where Potipherah says to Joseph : *' Our 
daughter is as thy sister," to which Joseph answers : 
"If she is your daughter, and is a virgin, let her 
come, for that she is my sister, and I love her from 
to-day as my sister." ^ Here, again, I am informed 
that it is common among Semitic peoples to 
introduce the daughter of the house to a guest as 
" your sister," * perhaps on the ground that the head 
of the household is in the position of a father to all 

^ Cf. also De Orat.^ xxi., xxii. 

2 I owe this information to Dr. H. M. L^on, who besides 
being a good Hebrew scholar lived many years in the 
Turkish empire, and states that the practice still exists there. 

^ Ch. vii. 

* This also I owe to Dr. Leon. 


who are in it, and we may therefore ascribe this 
passage, with the exception of the words " and is a 
virgin " (a Christian attempt to convert the relation- 
ship into a spiritual one), to a Jewish author. To 
the same hand we should naturally attribute the 
long-winded descriptions of the splendour of 
Asenath's apartments and attire, of Joseph's chariot 
and apparel, and of Asenath's beauty after her 
transformation,^ which have a truly Oriental ring 
about them, reminding us of the Apocalypse ; while 
the last, with its exaggerated Eastern imagery, 
naturally recalls the Song of Songs. We are, 
therefore, justified in assuming that our book is a 
Christian revision of a Jewish production, and, 
though the Jewish text is completely lost, we are able 
from various sources to discover approximately 
what it contained. The statement of the book of 
Genesis that Joseph married the daughter of 
an Egyptian priest, when compared with Abraham's 
care to find a wife for Isaac among his own kindred, 
and the grief of Isaac and Rebecca at Esau's 
marriage to a Hittite and their fear lest Jacob 
should take a wife from the daughters of the land, 
naturally caused considerable difficulty to the 
rabbinic commentators, and an ingenious story 
was invented to account for it. The Targum of 
Jonathan, in its commentary on Gen. xli. 45, has 
the following : " Pharaoh . . . gave him to wife 
Asenath whom Dinah had had by Shechem, whom 
the wife of Putifar prince of Tanis had brought up," 
while according to Rabbi Eliezer (eighth century), 
^ Chs. iii., iv., v., xviii. 


Jacob had a plate tied round the child's neck, with 
the name of God on it, and turned her out, and the 
archangel Michael carried her to the house of Poti- 
pherah.^ The difficulty was therefore removed by 
making Asenath of Hebrew birth on her mother's 
side, and new light is thrown on the passage already 
cited which represents her as resembling the 
Hebrews rather than the Egyptians, and compares 
her to Sarah, Rebecca, and Rachel, and we see the 
reason for the close connexion in which Asenath is 
brought to Simeon and Levi, the two who had 
avenged Dinah upon the men of Shechem, of whom 
in the story of Joseph as given in Genesis Simeon 
plays only a passive part and Levi no part at all.^ 
M. Batiffol thinks that the passage found in the 
Syriac and Armenian in which Asenath is made to 
kiss Jacob " as one who returneth from war to his 
house after a long time," ^ refers to the recognition 
of the relationship, and that some Greek scribe 
omitted it because in the Christian revision no mean- 
ing could be attached to it ; but it would be unsafe 
to depend upon this. On the other hand, I cannot 
with M. Batiffol regard the visit of Michael as 
a Christian addition. I have already shown that 
the passage in which Asenath is told to remove 
her veil is probably Jewish, and as, according to the 
story told by Eliezer, Michael brought her to Egypt, 

^ Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer, Eng. trans, by G. Friedlander, 
ch. xxxviii. 

^ It is worth noting that the prohibition against marrying 
a strange woman is in the Book of Jubilees (ch. xii.) connected 
with the story of Simeon and Levi. 

^ Ch. xxii. 


we may infer that in the Jewish work the object 
was to reveal the secret of her birth and so remove 
the impediment to her marriage to Joseph ; but, as 
in the Christian revision the impediment of alien 
birth was transformed into an impediment of alien 
religion, the same purpose is there effected by 
converting her to Judaism, or rather to Christianity, 
for the language of the angel has a Christian cast, 
and, as stated above, the mystic honeycomb mani- 
festly represents the Eucharist. To the Christian 
reviser the point on which the original story turns, 
the marriage of Joseph to his niece, was horrifying, 
and the story of Asenath's birth was therefore 
altogether suppressed, and a spiritual relationship 
on the basis of a common virginity substituted, 
and the praises of virginity and of penitence, which 
in the monastic ideal was closely connected with it, 
occupy a large portion of the book, though the very 
fact that the heroine is married and bears children 
is evidence that the author is adapting an older 
document in which virginity was held in less 

[Kohler in The Jewish Encyclopcedia^ regards 
our book as essentially Jewish in character, but 
subjected to slight Christian revision. " It con- 
tains a Midrashic story of the conversion of Ase- 
nath, the wife of Joseph, and of her magnanimity 
toward her enemies" — a story typical of the 
conversion of a heathen to Judaism. This seems 
to us to be the correct view. The Jewish features 
are pronounced. Thus the transformation of the 

^ ii. 172-176. 


name Asenath into " City of Refuge " is sug- 
gested in a characteristically Midrashic way by 
the inversion of the Hebrew name rODS which, by 
transposition of the letters, was made to read 
Asr^D = "she has taken refuge," and would natur- 
ally suggest Di2^ = " place of refuge." Asenath 
becomes the *' City of Refuge " because through 
her many Gentiles should take refuge under the 
wings of the divine Shekinah, and " under her 
walls those that turn to God, the Most High, 
should find protection in repentance." The idea 
that the proselyte who has left country, friends and 
relations "for the sake of virtue and holiness" 
finds a city of refuge in Israel's religion has a 
close parallel in Philo, who says {^De Mo7iaixhia^ i. 
§ 7) that such proselytes " ought not to be left 
destitute of some other cities, and homes and 
friends, but there ought to be places of refuge 
always ready for those who come over to religion." 
Another indication of the fundamentally Jewish 
character of our book is the fact that throughout 
no other Saviour or Forgiver of Sin is mentioned 
than the God of Israel. ^ 

Kohler holds that the Rabbinic view according 
to which Asenath was represented to be a daughter 
of Dinah (and therefore a true Israelite) is later, 
and superseded the earlier view (represented in 
our book) that Asenath was a proselyte from 
heathenism. It was an attempt to obviate the 
objectionable fact that Joseph should have married 
a heathen wife. 

"The book as a whole," Kohler concludes, 
" belongs to the Hellenistic propaganda literature 


by which Jewish writers endeavoured to win the 
non-Jewish world for the Jewish faith, while at 
the same time eagerly representing their Hebrew 
ancestors as - physical as well as moral heroes." 
In its original Jewish (Greek) form it probably 
belongs to a much earlier date than the fifth 
century ; perhaps, at the latest, to the early years 
of the second century A.D. — Edd.] 

Date and Place of Origin 

As to the date and place of writing, we have 
seen that the book was in existence some time before 
569, and the terms in which the Syriac writer 
relates the discovery are interesting, but unfortun- 
ately obscure. The supposed author of the letter 
to Moses of Ingila is represented as saying that he 
found it " in the library of the memorable bishops 
who were called the family of Beth Beruya (?), from 
the city of Rhesaina, in the possession of a boy 
of their kin," where we should probably not press 
" from " to its strict meaning, but suppose that the 
book was found at Rhesaina, and Beruya (B r w ' a) 
probably stands for Berrhoea (Aleppo).^ Hence 
we may perhaps conjecture that on the expulsion 
of the Monophysites in 519 the bishop of Berrhoea 
(Antoninus) took his books or those of his see with 
him, and that in the writer's time they were in the 
possession of a young kinsman of his at Rhesaina.^ 

^ Syr. Halab. Greek names are sometimes used in Syriac 
instead of the native forms, and in viii. 4 " Zacharias " himself 
uses " Ernes" for Emesa in place of " Hems." 

2 So Mara of Amida took his books to Alexandria, whence 
after his death they were carried back to Amida (Zach. 
Rh. viii. 5). 


On account of the prominence fjiven to St. Michael, 
M. Jiatiffol supposes the work to have been written 
in Central Asia Minor, where St. Michael was 
specially honoured ; but I have shown that 
Michael's visit was probably in the Jewish original, 
and the Eastern character of the work makes it 
more natural to refer it to those Eastern countries 
in which it is first found, while the fact that it was 
written in Greek is strong evidence for a Syrian 
rather than a Mesopotamian origin, and this theory 
gains further support if I am right in inferring that 
the book found by the Syrian writer came from 
Ikrrhoea. M. Batiffol thinks it was probably written 
in the fifth century, but there is no positive evidence 
for the date.^ 

Character of the Work 

The Syriac writer regards the work as an 
allegory ; but, as the end of Moses' answer is lost, 
we do not know the details of his explanation, 
though from what remains it would seem that he 
supposed it to represent the union of the Logos 
with a human soul. From this point of view Joseph 
may be considered as standing for Christ, and 
M. Batiffol suggests three possible interpretations 
of the figure of Asenath — (i) the Church, (2) the 
converted soul, and (3) virginity — and decides in 
favour of the last, but it would be outside the scope 
of this introduction to discuss the matter here. 
In spite of the turgid style and the wearisome 

1 As the Syriac writer calls the book found at Rhesaina 
' very old," it can hardly be later. M. Batiffol would place 
the Jewish work in the fourth century. 


repetitions, the book reaches a literary standard 
much above that of other similar works, and the 
simileof the little boy in Ch.xii. is worthy of Homer; 
but the story of the plot in Chs. xxiii.-xxix. falls 
much below the earlier portion. It is interesting 
to note that many incidents from our book have 
been incorporated in the lives of St. Barbara and 
St. Irene. The seclusion in a tower, however, 
which both these lives have in common with our 
book, is a common myth, which is found in the 
Greek legend of Danae and in the Indian story of 
Buddha.^ For the character of the Jewish work 
see pp. xiii ff. 

The Text 

Though Greek was the original language of the 
book, the versions contain many passages, absent 
from the existing Greek text, which have every 
appearance of genuineness, and we must therefore 
infer that our MSS. are derived from an abridged 
edition, and the value of M. Batiffol's careful and 
scholarly work is impaired by the facts that at the 
time of editing the Greek he seems to have been 
unacquainted with the Latin ; ^ that, though he 
mentions both the Mekhitarist text and Carriere's 
edition, he makes no use of the Armenian in his 
critical notes ; and that he used the Syriac only 
in Oppenheim's translation, and was apparently 
unaware of the existence of the Slavonic. Of the 

1 See A. Wirth, Danae m Christlichen Legende?! (Prague, 
Vienna, Leipzig, 1892). This contains the text of both 
lives, but that of Barbara has been edited from more MSS. 
by J. Viteau (Paris, 1897). 

' The notes contain no references to it. 


four versions the Latin in the earh'er part closely 
follows the Greek, but becomes shorter as it pro- 
ceeds, until at the end it is a mere epitome ; and the 
Slavonic is also much shortened. Of the other two 
the Armenian is the longer ^ and the nearer to the 
Greek, though it contains many passages found in 
other versions, but absent in our Greek text. Of 
the Greek MSS. B D contain a shorter text than 
the others, and often agree with the versions in 
their omissions, but in Ch. xvi. they have a long 
insertion which is found in different forms in the 
versions and is almost certainly original.^ 

The Present Translation 

1 have translated from Batiffol's text except in a 
few places where it is obviously wrong. To give 
all the variants would occupy much too much 
space and make the notes almost unintelligible 
(perhaps at some future time we may be given 
a complete critical edition of the book in which all 
the versions will be included in full), and for the 
purpose of this series I have thought it enough to 
record the variants in passages in which the Greek 
text is unsupported and a few others which there 
is special reason for recording, and the passages 
covered by the variants are marked in the text by 
a half-bracket at the beginning and the reference- 
number at the end. Longer insertions contained in 
the versions are given in an Appendix. 

^ Chs. xxv.-xxviii. are, however, almost wholly omitted ; 
see note to Ch. xxv. 

2 See p. 8i, n. 4. 





Asenath is sought in Marriage by the King's 
Son and many others. 

I. In the first year of plenty, in the second 
month, on the fifth of the month, Pharaoh sent 
Joseph to go round all the land of Egypt ; and in 
the fourth month of the first year, on the eighteenth 
of the month, Joseph came to the borders of Helio- 
polis, and he was gathering the corn of that country 
as the sand of the sea. And there was a certain 
man in that city by name Pentephres, who was a 
priest of Heliopolis and a satrap of Pharaoh, and 
chief of all Pharaoh's satraps and princes ; and 
this man was exceeding rich and very sage and 
gentle, and he was also a counsellor of Pharaoh, 
because he was prudent beyond all Pharaoh's 
princes. And he had a virgin daughter, by name 
Asenath, of eighteen years, tall and comely, and 
beautiful to behold exceedingly beyond every 
virgin upon the earth. Now Asenath herself bare 
no likeness to "^the virgins ^ the daughters of the 

^ The title varies in the MSS. "The Prayer of Asenath, 
given by Batiffol, is in none of them. The text follows B. 
-w? B D versions om. 



Egyptians, but was in all things like the daughters 
of the Hebrews, being tall as Sarah and comely as 
Rebecca and beautiful as Rachel ; and the fame 
of her beauty spread abroad into all that land and 
unto the ends of the world, so that by reason of 
this all the sons of the princes and the satraps 
desired to woo her, nay, and the sons of the kings 
also, all young men and mighty, and there was 
great strife among them because of her, and they 
essayed to fight against one another. And Pharaoh's 
firstborn son also heard about her, and he con- 
tinued entreating his father to give her to him to 
wife and saying to him : ** Give me, father, Asenath, 
the daughter of Pentephres, the ""first man ^ of Helio- 
polis to wife." And his father Pharaoh said to him : 
'' Wherefore dost thou on thy part seek a wife 
lower than thyself when thou art king of all this 
land ? Nay, but lo ! the daughter of Joacim the 
King of Moab is betrothed to thee, and she herself 
is a queen and beautiful to behold exceedingly. 
Take then this one to thyself to wife." 

The Tower in which Asenath lives is 

II. But Asenath set at naught and scorned every 
man, being boastful and haughty, and never had a 
man seen her, inasmuch as Pentephres had in his 
house a tower adjoining, great and high exceed- 
ingly, and above the tower was a loft containing ten 
chambers. And the first chamber was great and 

t^Xi^Lat. Syr. Slav, "priest"; in Arm. the sentence is 


very lovely and paved with purple stones, and the 
walls thereof were faced with precious and many- 
coloured stones, and the roof also of that chamber 
was of gold. And within that chamber gods of 
the Egyptians, whereof was no number, gold 
and silver, were fixed, and all those Asenath wor- 
shipped, and she feared them, and she performed 
sacrifices to them every day. And the second 
chamber also contained all Asenath's adorning 
and chests, and there was gold in it, and much 
silver and gold-woven raiment unlimited, and 
stones choice and of great price, and fine garments 
of linen, and all the adornment of her virginity was 
there. And the third chamber was Asenath's 
storehouse, containing all the good things of the 
earth. And the remaining seven chambers the 
seven virgins who ministered to Asenath occupied, 
each one having one chamber, for that they were 
of the same age, born on the same night with 
Asenath, and she loved them much ; and they 
were also beautiful exceedingly as the stars of 
heaven, and never did a man converse with them 
or a male child. 

Now Asenath's great chamber where her vir- 
ginity was fostered had three windows ; and the 
first window was very large, looking over the court 
to the east; and the second looked toward the 
south, and the third looked over the street.^ And 
a golden bedstead stood in the chamber looking 
toward the east ; and the bed was laid with 

\.^^y^ f^hdit. Syr. Arm. ins. "to the north," Slav. to the 
south " (it has above in place of " south," "north "}.! 


purple stuff interwoven with gold, the bed being 
woven of scarlet and crimson stuff* and fine linen. 
On this bed Asenath alone slept, and never 
had man or other woman sat thereon. And there 
was also a great court adjoining the house all round, 
and an exceeding high wall round the court built 
of great rectangular stones ; and there were also 
four gates in the court overlaid with iron, and 
these were kept each by eighteen strong young 
men armed ; and there were also planted along the 
wall fair trees of all kinds and all bearing fruit, 
their fruit being ripe, for it was the season of har- 
vest ; and there was also a rich fount of^ water 
springing from the right of the same court ; and 
beneath the fount was a great cistern receiving the 
water of that fount, whence there went, as it were, 
a river through the midst of the court and it 
watered all the trees of that court. 

Joseph announces his Coining to Pentephres. 

III. And it came to pass in the first year of the 
seven years of plenty, in the fourth month, oq. the 
twenty-eighth ^ of the month, that Joseph came to 
the borders of Heliopolis collecting the corn of that 
district. And, when Joseph drew near to that city, 
he sent twelve men before him to Pentephres, the 
priest of Heliopolis, saying : " I will come in to 
thee to-day, because it is the time of noon and of 
the midday meal, and there is great heat of the 

Lat. Syr. insert " living," Slav. '' abundant " ; Arm. om. 
y Versions " eighteenth." 


sun, and that I may cool myself under the roof of 
thine house." And Pentephres, when he heard 
these things, rejoiced with exceeding great joy, and 
said : " Blessed be the Lord God of Joseph, because 
my lord Joseph hath thought me worthy." And 
Pentephres called the overseer of his house and 
said to him : " Haste and make mine house ready, 
and prepare a great dinner, because Joseph the 
mighty one of God cometh to us to-day." And, 
when Asenath heard that her father and mother 
had come from the possession of their inheritance, 
she rejoiced greatly ^ and said : " I will go and see 
my father and mother, because they have come 
from the possession of our inheritance " (for that it 
was the harvest-season). And Asenath hastgd-Zinto ^'' 
her chamber where her robes lay ^ and put on a fine / ^'^^f 4 
linen robe made of crimson stuff and interwoven 
with gold, and girded herself with a golden girdle, ^' 

and bracelets round her hands ; and about her feet .._?„r^ ^ 
she put golden buskins, and round her neck she 
cast an ornament of great price and precious stones, 
which were embellished on all sides, having also 
the names ^ of the gods of the Egyptians every- 
where engraved on them, both on the bracelets 
and the stones ; ^ and she put also a tiara on her 
head and bound a diadem round her temples and 
covered her head with a mantle. 

Versions om. , 1 '?/ I I I '' 

Versions om. Ujri\^'i^Xj^ \r>^J^J^im »»• 0-f^^ 
^yr. ins. " and fmages." 
l^^omething seems to be wrong here, but Lat. Arm. Slav, 
acgree ; Lat. ins. " and the images of all the idols were 
formed upon them " ; similarly Arm. Slav. 


Pentephres proposes to give Asenath to 
Joseph in Marriage. 

IV. And thereupon 1 she hasted and went down 
the stairs from her loft and came to her father and 
mother and kissed them. And Pentephres and his 
wife rejoiced over their daughter Asenath ^ with 
exceeding great joy, for that they beheld her 
adorned and embellished as the bride of God ; and 
they brought forth all the good things which they 
had brought from the possession of their inherit- 
ance and gave them to their daughter ; and Asenath 
rejoiced over all the good things, ^over the late 
summer fruit and the grapes and the dates and 
over the doves, and over the mulberries and the 
figs, because they were all fair and pleasant to 
taste.3 And Pentephres said to his daughter 
Asenath : " Child." And she said : " Here am I, 
^^ my lord." And he said to her : " Sit down 
^^ between us, and I will speak to thee my words." 
V ' x^ ^^^ she sat down between her father and her 
^ I -^ mother, and Pentephres her father took hold of her 
1^>^:. right hand with his right hand and kissed it ten- 
^- ^ derly and said : " Dearest child." And she said to 
him : " Here am I, my lord father." And Pentephres 
said to her : " Lo ! Joseph, the mighty one of God, 
cometh to us to-day, and this man is ruler of all 

vi^Gr. eie' ovTw; BD versions om. ; so always except p. 35, 
1. 10, where B has it. 
B versions om. 

-'VjI 'ikjTv^^^^' o""^- > i" Lat. Arm. the fruits are different. " Doves " 
'T^'^^an hardly be right, but Lat. agrees. Slav. om. "doves 
f^^''^ • . . and the." 


the land of Egypt ; and King Pharaoh appointed 
him ruler of all our land and king, and he himself 
giveth corn to all this country, and saveth 
it from the coming famine ; and this Joseph is a 
man that worshippeth God, and discreet and a 
virgin as thou art to-day, and a man mighty in 
wisdom and knowledge, and the spirit of God is 
upon him and the grace of the Lord is in him. 
Come, dearest child, and I will give thee over to 
him to wife, and thou shalt be to him for a bride, 
and he himself shall be thy bridegroom for ever." 

And, when Asenath heard these words from her 
father, a great sweat ^ was poured out upon her 
over her face, and she waxed wroth with great 
anger, and she looked askance with her eyes at 
her father and said : " Wherefore, my lord father, 
speakest thou these words ? Wishest thou to give 
me over as a captive to an alien and a fugitive and 
one that hath been sold ? Is not this the son of 
the shepherd from the land of Canaan? ''and he 
himself hath been left behind by him.^ Is not 
this he who lay with his mistress, and his lord cast 
him into the prison of darkness, and Pharaoh 
brought him out from the prison inasmuch as he 
interpreted his dream, as the older women of the 
Egyptians also interpret ? Nay, but I will be mar- 
ried to the king's firstborn son, because he him- 
self is king of all the land." When he heard these 

BD"red sweat"; Lat. "rubor"; similarly Syr. Arm. 

Lat. Syr. Arm. om. ; Slav, "and thence hath been 
brought here." 


things Pcntcphres was ashamed to speak further 
to his daughter Asenath about Joseph, for that she 
answered him with boastfulness and anger. 

Joseph arrives at Pentephres' House. 

V. And lo ! a young man of Pentephres' servants 
sprang in, and he saith to him : " Lo ! Joseph 
standeth before the doors of our court." And 
when Asenath heard these words she fled from the 
face of her father and mother and went up into the 
loft, and she came into her chamber and stood 
at the great window looking east to see Joseph 
coming into her father's house. And Pentephres 
came out and his wife and all their kindred and 
their servants to meet Joseph ; and, when the 
gates of the court that looked east were opened, 
Joseph came in seated in the second chariot of 
Pharaoh ; and there were yoked four horses white 
like snow with golden bits, and the chariot was 
fashioned all of pure gold. And Joseph was clad 
in a tunic white and rare, and the robe that was 
thrown round him was purple, made of fine linen 
interwoven with gold, and a golden wreath was 
upon his head, and round his wreath were twelve 
choice stones, and above the stones twelve golden 
rays, and in his right hand a royal staff, which had 
an olive branch outstretched, and there was abun- 
dance of fruit thereon. When, then, Joseph had 
come into the court and the doors thereof had 
been shut, and every strange man and woman 
remained outside the court, for that the guards of 

T) ' 

f %^ s . .^-^^J^ /V-'-'^i, ..-S^-"^ , 


the gates drew to and closed the doors, Pentephres 
came and his wife and all their kindred except 
their daughter Asenath, and they made obeisance 
to Joseph upon their faces upon the earth ; and 
Joseph descended from his chariot and greeted 
them with his hand. 

Asenath sees Joseph from the Window. 

VI. And when Asenath saw Joseph she was 
sore pricked in the soul and her heart was crushed, 
and her knees were loosed and her whole body 
trembled and she feared with great fear, and then 
she groaned and said in her heart: "Alas me 
miserable ! where now shall I, the wretched one, go 
away ? or where shall I be hidden from his face ? 
or how shall Joseph the son of God see me, for 
that on my part I have spoken evil things about 
him ? Alas me miserable ! whither shall I go 
away and be hidden, because he himself seeth 
every hiding-place, and knoweth all things, and no 
hidden thing escapeth him by reason of the great 
light that is in him ? And now may the God of 
Joseph be gracious to me because in ignorance I 
have spoken wicked words against him. What 
now shall I, the wretched one, follow?^ ""Have I 
not 2 said : * Joseph cometh, the son of the shep- 
herd from the land of Canaan ' ? Now therefore 

L,V This can hardly be correct. Lat. Slav. " How do I 
now appear, the most miserable?"; Arm. "What shall I 

^ d%the most miserable?" ; similarly Syr. 

^^X-""^^ ^y^" "Strange counsellors deceived me, who'*; Arm. 
" My father and mother spake to me and." 


he hath come to us in his chariot as the sun from 
heaven, and he entered our house to-day, and he 
shineth into it like h'ght upon the earth. But I am 
foolish and bold, because I scorned him and spake 
evil words about him and did not know that 
Joseph is a son of God. For who among men 
will ever beget such beauty, or what womb of 
woman will give birth to such light ? Wretched 
am I and foolish, because I have spoken evil words 
to my father. Now, therefore, Jet my father give 
me to Joseph for an handmaid and a bondwoman 
rather, and I will be in bondage to him for ever." 

Joseph sees Asenath at the Window. 

VII. And Joseph came into the house of Pente- 
phres and sat upon a chair. And they washed his 
feet, and set a table before him separately, for that 
Joseph did not eat with the Egyptians, since this 
was an abomination to him. And Joseph looked 
up ""and saw Asenath peeping out,^ and he saith to 
Pentephres : " Who is that woman who is standing 
in the loft by the window ? Let her go away from 
this house." For Joseph feared, saying : " Lest she 
herself also annoy me." For all the wives and 
daughters of the princes and the satraps of all the 
land of Egypt used to annoy him in order that they 
might lie with him ; but many wives and daughters 
of the Egyptians also, as many as beheld Joseph, 
were distressed on account of his beauty ; ^ and the 

X^i ^^Versions om. 
^7 7 ^ ^^^.^fcat. Arm. ins. "but J. despised them." 


envoys whom the women sent to him with gold and 

silver and precious gifts Joseph sent back with 

threatening and insult, saying : " I will not sin in 

the sight of the Lord God and the face of my father o * 

Israel." For Joseph had God ^ ajwayi. before his ^2^^^^ 

eyes and ever ^ remembered the injunctions of 

his father ; for Jacob often spake and admonished 

his son Joseph and all his sons : " Keep yourselves, 

children, securely from a strange woman so as not 

to have fellowship with her, for fellowship with her 

is ruin and destruction." Therefore Joseph said : 

" Let that woman depart from this house." And 

Pentephres said to him : " My lord, that woman 

whom thou hast seen standing in the loft is not a 

stranger, but is our^ daughter, one who hateth 

every man, and no other man hath ever seen her 

save thou only to-day ; and, if thou wishest, lord,^ 

she shall come and speak to thee, for that our 

daughter is as thy sister." And Joseph rejoiced 

with exceeding great joy, for that Pentephres said : 

" She is a virgin hating every man." * And Joseph 

said to Pentephres and his wife : " If she is your 

daughter, and is a virgin, let her come, for that she 

is my sister, and I love her from to-day as my 


PB D Lat. Syr. Arm. om. ; in Slav, the sentence is 
■ different. 
:i 2 B ]3 Lat. Syr. Slav. ins. " virgin." 

" B D versions om. 

^ Lat. ins. "and he said in his mind, ' If she is a virgin 
Hating every man, she herself will never annay me ' " ; simi- 
larly Syr. Arm. 




Joseph blesses Asenath. 

VIII. Then her mother went up into the loft and 
brought Asenath to Joseph, and Pcntephres said to 
her : " Kiss thy brother, because he also is a virgin 
even as thou to-day, and hateth every strange 
woman even as thou hatest every strange man." 
And Asenath said to Joseph : " Hail, lord, blessed 
of God Most High." And Joseph said to her : 
'' God who quickeneth all things shall bless thee, 
damsel." ^ Pentephres saith then to his daughter 
Asenath : " Come and kiss thy brother." When 
Asenath then came up- to kiss Joseph, Joseph 
stretched forth his right hand, and laid it on her 
breast between her two paps (for her paps were 
already standing forth ''like lovely apples^), and 
Joseph said : " It is not meet for a man that 
worshippeth God, who blesseth with his mouth the 
living God, and eateth the blessed bread of life, and 
drinketh the blessed cup of imm.ortality, and is 
anointed with the blessed unction of incorruption, 
to kiss a strange woman, who blesseth with her 
mouth dead and deaf idols and eateth from their 
table the bread of strangling and drinketh from 
their libation the cup of deceit and is anointed with 
the unction of destruction ; but the man that wor- 
shippeth God will kiss his mother and the sister who 
is born of his mother and the sister who is born of his 
tribe * and the wife who shareth his couch, who bless 

/^'BD versions om. 

TvpoariKdiv (B D, SO versions) is clearly correct, not a-nriXQev. 
--"tS^'Lat. Syr. Arm. om. ; BCD Slav. om. "between . . . 
apples." (5)D versions ins. " and his kin." 


with their mouth the living God. Likewise also it is 
not meet for a woman that worshippeth God to kiss 
a strange man, for that this is an abomination in 
the sight of the Lord God." And, when Asenath 
heard these words from Joseph, she was sore 
distressed and groaned ; and, as she was looking 
steadfastly at Joseph with her eyes open, they were 
filled with tears. And Joseph, when he saw her 
weeping,^ pitied her exceedingly, for that he was 
mild and merciful and one who feared the Lord. 
Then he lifted up his right hand above her head and 
said : " Lord God of my father Israel, the Most 
High and the mighty God, who quickenedst all 
things and calledst from the darkness to the light 
and from error to truth and from death to life, 
bless thou this virgin also, and quicken her, and 
renew her with thy holy ^ spirit,^ and let her eat 
the bread of thy life and drink the cup of thy 
blessing, and number her with thy people whom 
thou chosest before all things were made, and let 
her enter into thy rest which thou preparedst for 
thine elect, and let her live in thine eternal life 
for ever." 

Asenath retires and Joseph prepares to 

IX. And Asenath rejoiced over the blessing 
^^.^ of Joseph with exceeding^ great joy. Then she 

t,y B versions om. ^ " ^ B versions om. 

' ?"^ Lat. ins. " and refashion with thine hidden hand " ; 
similarly Syr. Arm. 

_^ Lat. Syr. Arm. om ; Slav. om. clause. 
^ f^B D versions om. 


hasted and came up into her loft by herself, and 
fell upon her bed in infirmity, for that there was in 
her joy and sorrow and great fear ; and a continuous 
sweat ^was poured over her ^ when she heard these 
words from Joseph, and when he spake to her in 
the name of God Most High. Then she wept with 
great and bitter weeping, and she turned in peni- 
tence from her gods whom she was wont to wor- 
ship, and the idols, which she spurned, and waited 
for evening to come. But Joseph ate and drank ; 
and he told his serving-men to yoke the horses to 
their chariots, and to ^ go round all the land. And 
Pentephres said to Joseph : " Let my lord lodge 
here ^ to-day, and in the morning thou shalt go thy 
way." And Joseph said : " Nay, but I will go away 
to-day, for that this is the day on which God began 
to make all His created things, and on the eighth 
day I also return to you and will lodge here." 

Asenath rejects the Eg-yptian Gods and 
abases herself. 

X. And, when Joseph had left the house, 
Pentephres also and all his kindred departed to 
their inheritance, and Asenath was left alone with 
the seven virgins, listless and weeping till the sun 
set ; and she neither ate bread nor drank water, 

^nU*^ CpA B C versions om 

'B D "the chariots, for he said, ' I will go away and'" ; 
similarly versions. 

(•> fUTavOa should mean "there." B D Lat. Arm. Slav. om. 
in Syr. the sentence is in oratio obliqua and the word is 
represented by "with them." 


but^ while all slept she herself alone was awake ^ 
and weeping and frequently beating her breast 
with her hand.^ And after these things Asenath 
rose from her bed, and went quietly down the 
stairs from the loft, and on coming to the gateway 
found the portress sleeping with her children ; and 
she hasted and took down from the door the leathern 
cover of the curtain and filled it with cinders and 
carried it up to the loft and laid it on the floor. 
And thereupon she shut the door securely and 
fastened it with the iron bolt from the side and 
groaned with great groaning together with ^ much 
and very great* weeping. But the virgin whom 
Asenath loved above all the virgins having heard 
her groaning hasted and came to the door after 
awaking the other virgins also and found it shut. 
And, when she had listened to the groaning and 
the weeping of Asenath, she said to her, ""standing 
without : ^ " What is it, my mistress, and wherefore 
art thou sad ? And what is it that troubleth thee ? 
Open to us and let us see thee." And Asenath 
said to her, being shut inside : " Great and grievous 
pain hath attacked mine head, and I am resting in 
my bed, and I am not able to rise and open to you, 
for that I am infirm over all my limbs. Go there- 
fore each of you to her chamber and sleep, and let 

^JS-^JjLat. ins. "when night had come" ; similarly Syr. Arm. 
^^c3Lat. ins. "and was (wrapt) in desires"; similarly Syr. 

^/^(yLa.t ins. " and feared with great fear and trembled with 
"^^^'gEiqvous trembling"; similarly Syr. Arm. Slav. 

vPb D Lat. Arm. Slav. om. ; Syr. " bitter." 

Q^ D versions om. 



me be still." And, when the virgins had departed, 
each to her own chamber, Asenath rose and 
opened the door of her bedroom quietly, and went 
away into her second chamber where the chests of 
her adornment were, and she opened her coffer 
and took a black and sombre tunic which she put 
on and mourned when her firstborn brother died. 
Having taken, then, this tunic, she carried it into 
her chamber, and again shut the door securely, 
and put the bolt to from the side. Then, therefore, 
Asenath put off her royal robe, and put on the 
mourning tunic, and loosed her golden girdle •" and 
girded herself with a rope/ and put off the tiara, 
that is the mitre, from her head, Hkewise also the 
diadem, and the chains from her hands and her 
feet were also all laid upon the floor. Then she taketh 
her choice robe and the golden girdle and the mitre 
and her diadem, and she cast them through the 
window that looked toward the north, to the poor. 
And thereupon she took all her gods that were in 
her chamber, the gods of gold and of silver whereof 
there was no number, and brake them up into 
fragments, and cast them through the window to 
poor men and beggars. And again Asenath took 
her royal dinner and the fatlings and the fish and 
heifer's flesh, and all the sacrifices of her gods, and 
the vessels of the wine of libation, and cast them 
all through the window that looked north as food 
for the dogs. 2 And after these things she took 

di- Versions om. 

<3 Lat. ins. " of strangers ; for she said : ' How shall my 
dogs eat of the supper of the sacrifice of idols ? But those 
dogs of strangers shall eat it'" ; similarly Syr. Arm. 


the leathern cover containing the cinders and 
poured them upon the floor; and thereupon she 
took sackcloth and girded her loins ; and she loosed 
also the net of the hair of her head and sprinkled 
ashes over her head. And she strewed cinders 
also upon the floor, and fell upon the cinders and 
kept beating her breast constantly with her hands 
and weeping all the night with groaning until the 
morning. And, when Asenath arose in the morn- 
ing and saw, and lo ! the cinders were beneath her 
as clay from her tears, she again fell upon her face 
upon the cinders till the sun set. Thus Asenath 
did for seven ^ days, ''not tasting aught whatever.^ 

Asenath resolves to pray to the God of the 


XI. And on the eighth day, when the dawn came 
and the birds were already chirping and the dogs 
barking at the passers-by, Asenath lifted up her 
head a little from the floor and the cinders where- 
on she was seated, for that she was exceeding 
weary ^ and had lost the power of her limbs from 
her great humiliation ; * for Asenath had waxed 
weary and faint and her strength was failing, and 
thereupon she turned toward the wall, sitting under 
the window that looked east ; and her head she 

^rt ^I omit rdsy which is clearly wrong. 

^J^ (^)Lat. " of her humiliation " ; Syr. Arm. ins. " and ate no 
bread and drank no water," Syr. adding " in the seven days 
of the passion of her soul and of her humiliation." 

^^ ^,^1 read KCK/xriKvia for K€K\7]Kvia ; so versions. 

2;-iJ^£_y Syr. ins. " and fasting and abstinence '' ; similarly Lat. 

"*" Arm. For ff. to "Asenath" (p. 40, 1. 2) Slav, has "and 
stretched out her hands and looked toward the east and said." 


laid upon her bosom, twining the fingers of her 
hands over her right knee ; and her mouth was 
shut, and she opened it not during the seven days 
and during the seven nights of her humiliation. 
And she said in her heart, not opening her mouth : 
" What shall I do, I the lowly one, or where shall 
I go? And with whom again shall I hereafter find 
refuge ? '^or to whom shall I speak, ^ the virgin 
that is an orphan and desolate and abandoned by 
all and hated ? All now have come to hate me, 
and among these even my father and my mother, for 
that I spurned the gods with loathing and made 
away with them and have given them ^ to the 
poor 2 to be destroyed by men. For my father and 
my mother said : " Asenath is not our daughter." 
But all my kin also have come to hate me, and all 
men, for that I have given their gods to destruction. 
And I have hated every man and all who wooed 
me, and now in this mine humiliation I have been 
hated by all and they rejoice over my tribulation. 
But the Lord and God of the mighty Joseph 
hateth all who worship the idols, for that he is a 
jealous God and terrible, ^as I have heard,^ 
against all who worship strange gods ; whence he 
hath hated me also, because I worshipped dead 
and deaf idols and blessed them. ^ But now have 
I shunned their sacrifice, and my mouth hath 
^ become estranged from their table, ^ and I have no 

^..Z^^p CpLat. Syr. "or (and) what shall I say" ; Arm. om. 

^It-^XilA ^''Lat. " and I have eaten of their sacrifices and my mouth 
2^.^-:^- hath been polhited by the sacrifices of idols " ; similarly, but 
'^ longer, Syr. Arm. 


courage to call upon the Lord God of heaven, the 
Most High and powerful one of the mighty Joseph, 
for that my mouth is polluted from the sacrifices 
of the idols. But I have heard many saying that 
the God of the Hebrews is a true God, and a 
living God, and a merciful God and pitiful and 
long-suffering and full of mercy and gentle, and 
one who reckoneth not the sin of a man who 
is humble, and especially of one who sinneth in 
ignorance, and convicteth not of lawlessnesses in 
the time of the affliction of a man that is afflicted ; 
accordingly I ^also, the humble one,^ will be bold 
and will turn to him and seek refuge with him and 
confess all my sins to him and pour out my 
petition before him, and he will have mercy on my 
misery. For who knoweth if he will see this mine 
humiliation and the desolation of my soul and pity 
me, and will see also the orphanhood of my 
wretchedness '' and virginity ^ and defend me ? for 
that, ^as I hear,^ he is himself a father of orphans 
and a consolation of the afflicted and a helper of 
the persecuted. But in any case I '"also the 
humble one ^ will be bold and will cry to him." 
Then Asenath rose up from the wall where she was 
sitting, ajjd raised herself upon her knees ^toward 
the eastl?.:and^ directed her eyes toward heaven .:^ 31 
and opened her mouth and said to God : 

SI , 

i/Lat Syr. Arm. om. 
^ >l<fLat. "to the windows looking east"; similarly Arm. 
— _ Syr. Arm. have here an insertion ; see Appendix. 
1 j^;/ Ci^Arm. ins. "raised herself upon her knees and, lifting 
^^— "^"TJp her hands toward the east." 





•9 jv ff,^ Asenath's Prayer. 

XII. V^The prayer and confession of Ascnath : ^ 
" Lord God of the righteous, who createdst the 
ages and givcst Hfe to all things, who gavest 
the breath of life to all thy creation, who broughtest 
the invisible things out into the light, who madest 
all things and madest manifest things that did not 
appear, who liftedst up the heaven and foundedst 
the earth upon the waters, who fixedst the great 
stones upon the abyss of the water, which shall not 
be submerged but are unto the end doing thy will, 
for that thou. Lord, saidst the word and all things 
came into being, and thy word, Lord, is the life of 
all thy creatures, to thee I flee for refuge, Lord my 
God, ''from henceforth,^ to thee will I cry, Lord, 
and to thee will I confess my sins, to thee will I 
pour out my petition, Master, and to thee will 
I reveal my lawlessnesses. Spare me, Lord, spare, 
for that I committed many sins against thee, I did 
lawlessness and ungodliness, I have spoken things 
not to be uttered, and wicked in thy sight ; my 
mouth. Lord, hath been polluted from the sacrifices 
of the idols of the Egyptians, and from the table of 
their gods : I sinned, Lord, I sinned in thy sight, 
•"both in knowledge and ^ in ignorance I did ungod- 
liness in that I worshipped dead and deaf idols, and 
I am not worthy to open my mouth unto thee, Lord, 
I the miserable Asenath daughter of Pentephres 

D Lat. Syr. Arm. om. 

Versions om. 

Lat. Syr. Arm. cm.; Slav. om. "both . . . ignorance.'' 


the priest, the virgin and queen, who was once 
proud and haughty and one that prospered in my 
father's ^ riches above all men, but now an orphan 
and desolate and abandoned of all men. To thee 
I flee, Lord, and to thee I offer my petition, and 
unto thee will I cry. Deliver me from them that 
pursue me. Master, before I be taken by them ; for, 
as an infant in fear of some one fleeth to his father 
and mother, and his father stretcheth out his hands 
and catcheth him up against his breast^Vo~aIsb do' 
thou. Lord, stretchout thine '"undefiled and terrible^ 
hands upon me like a child-loving father, and 
catch me ^out of the hand of the suprasensual 
enemy.^ For lo ! the ancient and savage and cruel 
lion pursueth me, for that he is father of the gods 
of the Egyptians, and the gods of the idol-maniacs 
are his children, and I have come to hate them, and 
I made away with them, because they are a lion's 
children, and I cast all the gods ""of the Egyptians * 
from me and did them away, and the lion, or their 
father the devil, in wrath against me is trying to 
swallow me up. But thou, Lord, deliver me from 
his hands, and I shall be rescued from his mouth, 
lest he tear me asunder and cast me into the flame 
of fire, and the fire cast me into storm, and the 
storm prevail over me in darkness and cast me 
into the depth of the sea, and the great beast who 
is from everlasting swallow me up, and I perish for 

jl^JJ^ C> Lat. Syr. Arm. om. ; Slav. om. " and . . . Lord, and." 
■2,'/ A-- ^- 'Syr. Arm. expand the simile; see Appx, 
^f^^ (3- B versions om. 
/^ i'j^Versions om. 




ever. Deliver me, Lord, before all these things 
come upon me ; deliver me, Master, the desolate 
""and defenceless,^ for that my father and my 
mother have denied me and said, ' Asenath is not 
our daughter,' because I brake their gods in pieces 
and made away with them, as having wholly hated 
them. And now I am an orphan and desolate, 
and I have no other hope save thee. Lord, nor 
another refuge save thy mercy, thou friend of men, 
because thou only art father of the orphans and 
champion of the persecuted and helper of the 
afflicted. Have mercy on me. Lord, "and keep 
me pure and virgin,- the forsaken and orphan, for 
that thou only. Lord,- art a ^sweet and ^ good and 
gentle father. For what father is sweet and good 
as thou, Lord ? For lo ! all the houses of my 
father Pentephres which he hath given me for an 
inheritance are for a time and vanishing; but the 
houses of thine inheritance, Lord, are incorruptible 
and eternal." 

Asenath 's Prayer {continued). 

XIII. "Visit, Lord, mine humiliation and have 
mercy on •" mine orphanhood and pity^ me, the 
afflicted. For lo ! I, ^Master, fled from all and sought 
refuge with thee ^the only friend of men. Lo ! * I 
left all the good things of the earth and sought 
refuge with thee. Lord, in sackcloth and ashes, naked 

yr. Arm. om. ; Lat. om. " before . . . defenceless " ; 
. om. clause. 

Syr. Arm. om.; Slav. om. "Have . . . thou. Lord." 
Syr. Arm. om. ; Slav. om. sentence. 
^ yr. Arm. om. ; Slav. om. " the . . . solitary." 


f and solitary.^ Lo ! now I put off my royal robe 
of fine linen and of crimson stuff interwoven with 
gold and have put on a black tunic of mourning. 
Lo ! I have loosed my golden girdle ^and cast it 
from me ^ and girded myself with rope and sack- 
cloth. Lo ! my diadem and my mitre I have cast 
from mine head and I have sprinkled myself with 
cinders, Lo ! the floor of my chamber that was 
paved with many-coloured and purple stones, which 
was formerly moistened with ointments and was 
dried with bright linen cloths, is now moistened 
with my tears and hath been dishonoured in that 
it is strewn with ashes. Lo !, my Lord, from the 
cinders and my tears much clay hath been formed 
in my chamber as on a broad road. Lo !, my 
Lord, my royal dinner and the meats I have given 
to the dogs. Lo ! I have ^also, Master,^ been 
fasting seven days and seven nights and neither 
ate bread nor drank water, and my mouth is dry 
as ''a wheel ^ and my tongue as horn and my lips 
as a potsherd, and my face hath shrunk, and mine 
eyes have failed from shedding tears.^ But thou, 
Lord my God, deliver me from my many ignorances, 
and forgive me for that, being a virgin and un- 
knowing, I have gone astray. Lo ! now all ^ the 
gods whom I worshipped before in ignorance I 

^ Syr. om. ; D Arm. om. "naked . . . solitary." 
J B D Arm. Slav. om. ; in Syr. the account of the change of 
atiire is shortened. 

B D Syr. Arm. Slav. om. 

Syr. " a grave" ; Arm. "in a torpor" ; Slav. om. "and 
mouth . . . cinders" (p. 45, 1. 8). 

Syr. Arm. ins. " and my strength hath passed from me." 
yr. Arm. om. 


have now known to have been deaf and dead idols, 
and I brake them in pieces and gave them to be 
trampled on by all men, and the thieves spoiled 
them, who were gold and silver, and with thee I 
sought refuge. Lord God, "^the only compassionate 
one and friend of men.^ Forgive me, Lord, for 
that I committed many sins against thee in ig- 
norance and have spoken blasphemous words 
against my lord Joseph, and knew not, ^l the 
miserable,^ that he is thy son. Lord, since the 
wicked men urged by envy said to me : ' Joseph is 
son of a shepherd from the land of Canaan,' and I 
the miserable one have believed them and gone 
astray, and I set him at naught and have spoken 
wicked things about him, not knowing that he is 
thy son. For who among men begat or will ever 
beget such beauty ? or who else is such as he, wise 
and mighty as the all-beauteous Joseph ? But to 
thee. Lord, I commit him, because for my part I 
love him more than my soul. Keep him safe in 
the wisdom ^ of thy grace, and commit me to him 
for an handmaid and a bondwoman, that I may 
wash his feet and make his bed and minister to 
him ""and serve him,^ and I will be a bondwoman 
to him for the times of my life." 

The Archangel Michael visits Asenath. 

XIV. And, when Asenath had ceased making 
confession to the Lord, lo ! the morning-star also 

•J Versions om. 

fp Two leaves are here lost in Syr,, the lacuna reaching 
to p. 50, 1. 24. ^Lat. Arm. om. 



arose out of the heaven in the east ; and Asenath 
saw it and rejoiced and said : " Hath the Lord God 
then heard my prayer ? for that this star is a 
messenger and herald of the h'ght of the great ^ 
day." 2 And lo ! hard by the morning-star the 
heaven was rent and a great and ineffable light 
appeared. And when she saw it Asenath fell upon 
her face upon the cinders, and straightway there 
came to her a man from heaven, ^sending forth 
rays of light,^ and stood above her head. And, ^ as 
she lay on her face, the divine angel * ^ said to her, 
" Asenath, stand up." ^ And she said : " Who is he 
that called me } for that the door of my chamber 
is shut and the tower is high, and how then hath 
he come into my chamber } " And he called her 
again a second time, saying, " Asenath, Asenath." 
And she said, " Here am I, lord, tell me who thou 
art." And he said : " I am the chief captain of the 
Lord God and commander of all the host of the 
Most High : stand up and stand upon thy feet, 
that I may speak to thee my words." And she 
lifted up her face and saw, and lo ! a man in all 
things like unto Joseph, in robe and wreath and 
royal staff, save that his face was as lightning, and 
his eyes as the light of the sun, and the hairs of his 
head as the flame of fire ^of a burning torch,^ and 

at. Arm. om. 
Xat. ins. "And she was still looking forth"; similarly 

X-jL'W^ Lat. Arm. om. ; Slav. " bright." 
NlXf^^tiDD Lat. Arm. Slav. om. 

?B D Lat. Slav. " called her." Arm. om. " stand up." 
'^JB D Lat. Arm. Slav. om. 


his hands and his feet like iron shining from fire, 
for as it were sparks proceeded both from his hands 
and from his feet. Seeing these things Asenath 
feared and fell on her face, ""unable even to stand 
upon her feet,^ for she became greatly afraid and 
all her limbs trembled. And the man said to her : 
" Be of good cheer, Asenath, and fear not ; but 
stand up and stand upon thy feet, that I may 
speak to thee my words." Then Asenath stood 
up and stood upon her feet, and ^the angel ^ said to 
her : " ■" Go without impediment into thy second 
chamber and ^ lay aside the black tunic wherein 
thou art clad, and cast off the sackcloth from thy 
loins, and shake out the cinders from thine head, 
and wash thy face and thine hands with pure * 
water and put on a white untouched robe ^ and gird 
thy loins with the bright girdle of ^ virginity, the 
double one, and come again to me, and I will speak 
to thee ""the words that are sent to thee from the 
Lord." ' Then Asenath hasted and went into her 
second chamber, wherein were the chests of her 
adorning, and opened her coffer and took a white, 
fine, untouched robe and put it on, having first put 
off the black robe, and ungirded also the rope and 
the sackcloth from her loins and girded herself in 
^ a bright, double girdle of her virginity, one girdle 

D Lat. Slav, "before his feet" ; Arm. om. 

^L — r^ i-o-t. vjiciv. uciuic Ills iccu , r\.iiii. uiii. 

f^^^^J^^ Arm. "the man" (Slav, here "he"), and so always; 
^' ' ~"" ilso Syr. Slav. 

D Lat. Slav om.; Arm. "Go and." 
B D Lat. Arm. Slav. " living." 

Lat. ins. " new and glorious" ; similarly Arm. Slav. 
'B D Lat. Arm. Slav. ins. "thy." 
Lat. Arm. " my words " ; Slav. om. " from the Lord." 



about her loins and another girdle about her breast. 
And she shook out also the cinders from her head 
and washed her hands and face with pure water, and 
she took a mantle most beautiful and fine and 
veiled her head. 

Michael tells Asenath that she shall be 
Joseph's Wife. 

XV. And thereupon she came to the i" divine chief 
captain ^ and stood before him, and ■" the angel of 
the Lord 2 saith to her : " Take now the mantle 
from thine head,^ for that thou art to-day a pure 
virgin, and thine head is as of a young man." And 
Asenath took it from her head. And again the 
divine angel saith to her : " Be of good cheer, 
Asenath, the virgin and pure, for lo ! the Lord God 
heard all the words of thy confession * and thy 
prayer, and he hath seen also the humiliation ""and 
affliction ^ of the seven days of thine abstinence, for 
that from thy tears much clay hath been formed 
before thy face upon these cinders. Accordingly,^ 
be of good cheer, Asenath, the virgin and pure, for 
lo ! thy name hath been written in the book of 
life and shall not be blotted out for ever ; but from 
this day thou shalt be renewed ^and refashioned^ 
and re-quickened, and thou shalt eat the blessed 
bread of life and drink a cup filled with immortality 

76j|^-<2'B Arm. Slav, "man" ; D "angel." 

B Arm. Lat. " the angel " ; Slav. " he." 

Lat. Arm. ins. " and wherefore hast thou done this ?" 

lav. om. ff. to " Accordingly." 
Lat. Arm. om. 
© D Lat. Arm. Slav. om. 


and be anointed with the blessed unction of incor- 
ruption. Be of good cheer, Asenath, the virgin 
and pure, lo ! the Lord God hath given thee to-day 
to Joseph for a bride, and he himself shall be thy 
bridecrroom for ever. And no more henceforth 
■"shalt thou^ be called Asenath, but thy name shall 
be * City of Refuge,' for that in thee many nations 
shall seek refuge and they shall lodge under thy 
wings, and many nations shall find shelter by thy 
means, and upon thy walls they who cleave unto 
God Most High through penitence shall be kept 
secure ; for that Penitence is daughter of the Most 
High, and she herself entreateth God Most High 
for thee every hour and for all that repent, since he 
is father of Penitence, and she herself is the com- 
pletion and overseer of all virgins, loving you 
exceedingly and beseeching the Most High for 
you every hour, and for ^ all who repent she 
will provide a place of rest in the heavens, and 
she reneweth everyone who hath repented.^ And 
Penitence is exceeding fair, a virgin pure and 
gentle and mild ; and therefore God Most High 
loveth her, and all the angels revere her, and I 
love her exceedingly, for that she herself also is my 
sister, and as she loveth you virgins I also love you. 
And lo ! for my part I go to Joseph and will speak 
to him all these * words concerning thee, and he 
will come to thee to-day and see thee and rejoice 

l^Lat. Arm. Slav. " shall thy name." 
^^"he Gr. is corrupt. I follow Arm. 

ins. " and herself shall minister unto them for ever" ; 
similarly Lat. Arm. ; Slav. om. 1. 7-p. 49, 1. 23. 
CjLat. Arm. "my." 


over thee and love thee and be thy bridegroom, and 
thou shalt be his beloved ^ bride for ever. Accord- 
ingly hear me, Asenath,^ and put on a wedding 
robe, ""the ancient and first robe ^ that is yet laid up 
in thy chamber from of old, and put all thy choice 
adorning also about thee, and adorn thyself as a 
good bride and make thyself ready to meet him ; 
for lo ! he himself cometh to thee to-day and will 
see thee and rejoice." And, when the angel of 
the Lord ""in the shape of a man * had finished 
speaking these words to^ Asenath, she* rejoiced 
with great joy over all the things that were spoken 
by him, and fell upon her face upon the earth, and 
made obeisance before his feet and said to him : 
" Blessed is the Lord thy God ^ who sent thee to 
deliver me from the darkness and to bring me 
from the foundations of the abyss itself into the 
light, and blessed is thy name for ever.^ , If the'rT 
I have found grace, my lord, in thy sight and shall 
know that thou wilt perform all the words which 
thou hast said to me so that they be accomplished, 
let thine handmaid speak to thee." And ^the 
angel ' saith ''to her,^ " Say on." And she said : ^ 
" I pray thee, lord, sit down a little time upon this 
bed, because this bed is pure and undefiled, for 

ig^-O Lat. Arm. oow--^-''^' 'j2./Lat. A^m. ins. "the virgin." 
gj|x — ^Lat. Arm. om. '^JiL^ (3>T> Lat. Arm. om. 
^^CpLat. Arm. ins. " ISTbst High" ; Slav. om. "to him . . . 
^7 ever." .fp.ft> 

^^^SSr Lat. Arm. have here an insertior^r-see Appx. 
5X5^ ^Lat. Arm. "he" ; Slav. om. "and shall . . . lord." 
^^^Lat. Arm. om. 

„(^Lat. ins. " with her hand extended, grasping his robe"; 

similarly Arm. 






that another man or other woman never sat upon 
it, and I will set before thee a table and bread, and 
thou shalt eat, and I will bring thee also wine old 
and good, the odour whereof shall reach unto 
heaven, and thou shalt drink thereof and thereafter 
shalt depart upon thy way." And he ^ saith to her : 
" Haste and bring it quickly." 

Asenath finds a Honeycomb in her Storehouse. 

XVI. And Asenath hasted and set an empty 
table before him ; and, as she was starting to fetch 
bread, the divine ^ angel saith to her : " Bring me 
also an honeycomb." And she stood still and was 
perplexed and grieved for that she had not a bee's 
comb in her storehouse. And the divine ^ angel 
saith to her : " Wherefore standest thou still ? " 
And she said: " My lord, I will send a boy to the 
suburb, because the possession of our inheritance 
is near, and he will come and bring one ^ quickly 
thence, and I will set it before thee." ^The divine 
angel ^ saith to her: " Enter thy storehouse and thou 
wilt find a bee's comb lying upon the table ; take it 
up and bring it hither." And she said, " Lord, there 
is no bee's comb in my storehouse." And he said, 
" Go and thou wilt find." And Asenath entered 
her storehouse and found an honeycomb lying 

the angel " ; Slav. 

(^J^BArm. Slav, "the man"; D Lat. 
ff. to " angel." 
at. Arm. om. 
Lat. Arm. om ; Slav. om. sentence. 
Lat. Arm. Slav, "an honeycomb." 
•D Lat. " The angel " ; B Slav. " The man " ; Arm. " Who." 


upon the table ; and the comb was great and 
white like snow and full of honey, and that honey 
was as the dew of heaven, and the odour thereof 
as the odour of life. Then Asenath wondered 
and said in herself: " Is this comb from the mouth 
of this man himself?" And Asenath took that 
comb and brought it and set it forth upon the 
table, and the angel said to her : " Why is it 
that thou saidst, ' There is no honeycomb in mine 
house,' and lo ! thou hast brought it me ? " And 
she ^ said : " Lord, I have never put an honey- 
comb in mine house, but as thou saidst so it hath 
been made. Came this forth from thy mouth ? for 
that the odour thereof is as the odour of oint- 
ment." 2 And the man smiled at ^the woman's ^ 
understanding. Then he calleth her to himself, 
and, ^when she came,^ he stretched out his right 
hand and took hold of her head, and, ""when he 
shook her head with his right hand,^ Asenath 
feared the angel's hand greatly, for that sparks 
proceeded from his hands after the manner of red- 
hot ^ iron, and accordingly she was all the time 
gazing with much fear and trembling at the angel's 
hand. And he smiled and said : " Blessed art 
thou, Asenath, because the ineffable mysteries of 

^1^~~C4^B D versions " Asenath." 

2^L-(i)Lat. Syr. Arm. " thy mouth " ; Slav. " ointment like thy 

^^Lat. Syr. Arm. "Asenath's"; Slav. om. "smiled . . . 
cajfte, he." 

.J/Lat. Syr. Arm. om. 
► / ^•Versions om.; Slav. om. fif. to "smiled and." 
j ^r°> I follow Syr. Arm. ; hx^aiovros ("crowding") must be 


God have been revealed to thee ; and blessed are 
all who cleave to the Lord God in penitence, 
because they shall eat of this comb, for that this 
comb is the spirit of life, and this the bees of the 
paradise of delight have made from the dew of the 
roses of life that are in the paradise of God and 
every flower, and of it eat the angels and all the 
elect of God and all the sons of the Most High, 
and whosoever shall eat of it shall not die forever." 
Then the divine^ angel stretched out his right 
hand and took a small piece from the comb and 
ate, and with his own hand placed what was left in 
Asenath's mouth and said to her, " Eat," and she 
ate. And the angel saith to her : " Lo ! now 
thou hast eaten the bread of life and hast drunk 
the cup of immortality and been anointed with the 
unction of incorruption ; lo ! now to-day thy flesh 
produceth flowers of life from the fountain ^ of the 
Most High, and thy bones shall be made fat like 
the cedars of the paradise of delight of God and 
unwearying powers shall maintain thee ; accord- 
ingly thy youth shall not see old age, nor shall thy 
beauty fail for ever, but thou shalt be as a walled 
mother-city of all." ^ - And the angel ""incited the 
comb,* and many bees arose from the cells of that 

i)B D versions om. ; Lat. "he" for "the . . . angel." 
2 igyj. Arm. "land"; sentence shortened in Lat; Slav, 
cm., " and said . . . comb." 

- i^.^^Lat. Syr. Arm. ins. (with small variants) "who seek 
refuge in the King and Lord^Qpd of ages." A longer inser- 
tioD follows in B D versionsr^ee Appx. 

— CDSyr. " said to the comlD, ' Come and appear forthwith, 
great swarm of bees that are in the honeycomb ' " ; Lat. 
Arm. shorter. 


comb, and the cells were numberless, tens of thou- 
sands of tens of thousands and thousands of 
thousands. And the bees also were white like 
snow, and their wings as purple and crimson stuff 
and as scarlet ; ^ and they had also sharp stings 
and injured no man. Then all those bees encircled 
Asenath from feet to head, and other great bees 
like their queens arose from the cells, and they 
circled round upon her face and upon her lips, and 
made a comb upon her mouth and upon her lips 
like the comb that lay before the angel ; and all 
those bees ate from the comb that was upon 
Asenath's mouth. And the angel said to the 
bees, " Go now to your place." Then all the 
bees rose and flew and departed to heaven ; but as 
many as wished to injure Asenath all fell upon the 
earth and died. And thereupon the angel stretched 
his staff over the dead bees and said to them : 
" Rise and depart ye also into your place." Then 
all the dead bees rose and departed into the court 
that adjoined x^senath's house and took up their 
lodging upon the fruit-bearing trees. 

Michael departs. 

XVII. And the angel saith to Asenath, "Hast 
thou seen this thing ? " And she said, " Yea, my 
lord, I have seen all these things." The divine ^ 
angel saith to her : " So shall be all my words as 

"w^yr. ins. "and fine linen interwoven with gold, and a 
crown of gold was on the head of each one of them " ; latter 
P9J-t also in Arm. 
^7t3^ D versions om. ; Lat. "He" for "The , • . angel." 


many as I have spoken to thcc to-day." Then 
the anc^el ^of the Lord ^ for the third ^ time 
stretched forth his right hand and touched the 
side of the comb, and straightway fire came up 
from the table and devoured the comb, but the 
table it injured not a whit. And, when much 
fragrance had come forth from the burning of the 
comb and filled the chamber, Asenath said to the 
divine ^ angel : " Lord, I have seven virgins who 
were brought up with me from my youth and were 
born on one night with me, who wait upon me, 
and I love them all * as my sisters. I will call 
them and thou shalt bless them too, even as thou 
blesscdst me." And the angel said to her : " Call 
them." Then Asenath called the seven virgins and 
set them before the angel, and the angel said to 
them : " The Lord God Most High shall bless you, 
and ye shall be ^[pillars] of refuge of seven cities,^ 
and all the elect of that city who dw^ell together 
shall [upon you rest]^ for ever." And ^after these 
things ' the divine ' angel saith to Asenath : " Take 
away this table." And, when Asenath turned to 
remove the table, straightway he departed from 
her eyes, and Asenath saw as it were a chariot 
with four horses that were going eastward to 
heaven, and the chariot was as a flame of fire, and 
the horses as lightning, and the angel was standing 

B versions om ^ . CSwf f f^ ( ySee p. 8i, n. 4. 

B D versions om. .2j^;5/-J3) Versions om. 
__ Lacuna in text ; Lat Syr. Arm. " seven pillars in the city " 
(Lat. Syr. ins. " of refuge ") ; Slav, om, " and ye . . . rest." 
'^ Lacuna in text ; suppl. from Lat. Syr, Arm, 

B D versions om. 



above that chariot. Then Asenath said : " Silly 
and foolish am I, the lowly one, for that I have 
spoken as that a man came into my chamber ""from 
heaven,! ^^^ j knew not that God came into it ; 
and lo ! now he goeth back to heaven to his 
place." And she said in herself: "Be gracious, 
Lord, to thy bondmaid, ^and spare thine handmaid,^ 
because, for my part, I have in ignorance spoken 
rash things before thee." 

Asenath's Face is transformed. 

XVIII. And, while Asenath was yet speaking 
these words to herself, lo ! a young man, one of 
the servants of Joseph,^ saying : " Joseph, the 
mighty man of God, cometh to you to-day."* 
And straightway Asenath called ""the overseer of 
her house ^ and said to him : " Haste and prepare 
mine house and make a good dinner ready, for 
that Joseph, the mighty man of God, cometh to us 
to-day." ^ And ""the overseer of the house ^ when 
he saw her (for her face had shrunk from the 
seven days' affliction and weeping and abstinence) 
sorrowed and wept ; and he took hold of her right 
hand and kissed it tenderly and said : " What 
j.ileth thee, my lady,'^ that thy face is thus 

yLat. Syr. Arm. om. ; Slav. om. " and the chariot . . . 

B D versions om. 

Lat. Syr. Arm. " Pentephres" (probably rightly). 
,^Lat. ins. "for his forerunner standeth at the gates of our 
rt " ; similarly Syr. Arm. ; Lat. om. ff. to p. 58, 1. 2. 
Syr. Arm. " her foster-father" ; so always. 
Slav. om. ff. to "hasted" (p. 56 1. 6). 
Syr. Arm. " daughter." 




shrunken ? " And she said : " I have had great 
pain about mine head, and sleep departed from 
mine eyes." Then the overseer of the house went 
away and prepared the house and the dinner. 
And Asenath remembered the angel's words and 
his injunctions, and hasted and entered her second 
chamber, where the chests of her adorning were, 
and opened her great coffer and brought out her ^ 
first robe like lightning to behold and put it on ; 
and she girded herself also with a girdle ""bright 
and '^ royal that was of gold and precious stones, 
and on her hands she put golden bracelets, and 
upon her feet golden buskins,^ and a precious * 
ornament about her neck, and a golden wreath 
she put about her head ; and on the wreath as 
upon its front was a great sapphire stone, and 
■"round the great stone ^ six stones of great price, 
and with a '"very marvellous ^ mantle she veiled her 
head.® And, when Asenath remembered the words 
of the overseer of her house, for that he said to 
her that her face had shrunk, she sorrowed exceed- 
ingly, and groaned and said : " Woe is me, the 
lowly one, since my face is shrunken. Joseph will 
see me thus and I shall be set at naught by him." 
And she saith to her handmaid, " Bring me pure 
water from the fountain." And, when she had 

- ^ For ff. to " court " (p. 58, 1. i) Slav, has " wedding-raiment, 
and. decked herself like a bride for the marriage-chamber.'' 
^ Syr, Arm. om. 
J. -Syr, Arm. " chains." 

>Syr. " varied with many precious stones " ; similarly Arm. 
Syr. Arm. " bride's " ; B D om. 

Syr. Arm. ins. "and she took a royal" (Syr. om.) " staff 
h?r band." 


brought it, she poured it out into the basin, and, 
bending down to wash her face, she seeth her own 
face shining like the sun, and her eyes as the 
morning-star when it riseth,^ and her cheeks .^as a 
star of heaven,^ and her Hps as ""red roses,^ the 
hairs of her head were as the vine that bloometh 
among his fruits in the paradise of God, her neck 
as ^an all-variegated cypress.* And Asenath, when 
she saw '' these things,^ marvelled in herself at the 
sight and rejoiced with exceeding great joy and 
washed not her face, for she said, " Lest I wash 
off this great and comely beauty." The overseer 
of her house then came back to tell her, " All 
things are done that thou commandedst " ; and, 
when he beheld her, he feared greatly and was seized 
with trembling for a long time, and he fell at her 
feet and began to say: " What is this, my mistress? 
What is this beauty that surroundeth thee that 
is great and marvellous ? Hath the Lord God of 
Heaven chosen thee as bride for his son Joseph ? " 

Joseph returns and is received by Asenath. 

XIX. And, while they were yet speaking these 
things, a boy came saying to Asenath : '* Lo ! 

Q^ Arm. ins. " and the ways of her feet as even and graceful 


Ci^Syr. " as the fields of the Most High, and on them was 

she red as a man's blood"; Arm. "... red as fragments 
- of a pomegranate." 

70 (3-' Syr. " a rose of life plucked from its stem, and her teeth 
"™'^' as arms prepared for battle " ; Arm. "a rose sprouting when 

it Cometh out from the buds (?), her teeth as a graceful 
> ^ i tower " (om, ff. similes). 

' -^ £—- - -Ci^yr. "the islarids of rest of the angels that are in 
"^ heaven." ^ _^J^ Syr. Arm. "herself in the water," 





Joseph standeth before the doors of our court." 
Then Asenath hasted and went down the stairs 
^from her loft^ with the seven virgins to meet 
Joseph and stood in the porch of her house. And, 
Josei)h having come into the court,^ the gates were 
shut and all strangers remained outside. And 
Asenath came out from the porch to meet Joseph, 
and when he saw her he marvelled at her beauty, 
and said to her : " Who art thou, damsel ? ^ Quickly 
tell me." And she saith to him : " I, lord,' am 
thine handmaid Asenath ; all the idols I have cast 
away from me and they perished. And a man 
came to me to-day from heaven and hath given 
me bread of life and I ate, and I drank a blessed 
cup, and he said to me : * I have given thee for a 
bride to Joseph, and he himself shall be thy bride- 
groom for ever ; and thy name shall not be called 
Asenath, but it shall be called " City of Refuge," 
""and the Lord God shall reign over many nations,^ 
and through thee shall they^ seek refuge with 
God Most High.' And the man said : ' I will go 
also to Joseph that I may speak into his ears 
these words concerning thee.' And now thou 
knowest, lord, if that man hath come to thee and 
if he hath spoken to thee concerning me." Then 
Joseph saith to Asenath : '' Blessed art thou, 
woman,^ of God Most High, and blessed is thy 

Syr. Arm. om. ; in Lat. the sentence is shortened. 
For ff. to "seated him " (p. 59, 1. ult.) Slav, has " sat." 
Lat. Syr. Arm. om. 

Lat. " and the Lord God is thy King for ever " ; Syr, 
f^Lat. Arm. "many nations" ; Syr. "peoples and kindreds 
and families and nations." 


name for ever, for that the Lord God hath laid 
the foundations of thy walls, and the sons of the 
living God shall dwell in thy city of refuge, and 
the Lord God shall reign over them for ever. For 
that man came ^from heaven ^ to me to-day and 
said these words to me concerning thee. And 
now come hither to me, thou virgin and pure, 
and wherefore standest thou afar off ? " Then 
Joseph stretched out his hands and ""embraced 
Asenath, and Asenath Joseph, and they kissed 
one another for a long time,^ and both lived again 
in their spirit.^ And Joseph kissed Asenath and 
gave her the spirit of life, then the second time 
he gave her the spirit of wisdom, and the third 
time he kissed her tenderly and gave her the spirit 
of truth. 

Pentephres returns and wishes to betroth 
Asenath to Joseph, but Joseph resolves to 
ask her hand from Pharaoh. 

XX. And, when they had clasped one another 
round for a long time and intertwined the chains 
of their hands, Asenath said to Joseph : " Come 
hither, lord, and enter our house, for that on my 
part I have prepared our house and a great 
dinner." And she took hold of his right hand 
and led him into her house and seated him on 

^ Lat. Syr. Arm. om. 

{fJ>Syr. "by the beckoning of his eyes called A., and A. 
also stretched out her hands and ran to J. and fell on his 
neck and embraced him"; Lat. "embraced A. and they 
kissed one another" (om, ff. to 1. 22); Arm. "called A. 
and she came to J. and fell on his neck." 
j^)Syr. Arm. ins. " and were joined to one another." 


the chair of Tentephres her father ; and she brou<;lU 
water to wash his feet. And Joseph said : " Let 
one of the virgins come and wash my feet." And 
Asenath said to him : ** Nay, lord, for that hence- 
forth thou art my lord and I am thine handmaid. 
And wherefore seekest thou this, that another 
virgin should wash thy feet? for that thy feet are 
my feet, and thine hands mine hands, and thy 
soul my soul, and another shall not wash thy feet." 
And she constrained him and washed his fect.^ 
Then Joseph took hold of her right hand and 
kissed her tenderly and Asenath kissed his head 
tenderly, and thereupon he seated her at his right 
hand. Her father and mother and all her kindred 
then came from the possession of theirinheritance,^ 
and they saw her sitting with Joseph and clad 
in a wedding-garment. And they marvelled at 
her beauty and rejoiced and glorified God who 
quickeneth the dead. And after these things they 
ate and drank ; and, all having made cheer, Pente- 
phres said to Joseph : " To-morrow I will call all 
the princes and satraps of all the land of Egypt, 
and will make a wedding for you, and thou shalt 
take my daughter Asenath to wife." But Joseph 
said : "I go to-morrow to Pharaoh the king, for 
that he himself is my father and appointed me 
ruler over all this land, and I will speak to him 
concerning Asenath, and he will give her to me 
to wife." And Pentephres said to hini : " Go in 
peace." 'J^^ 

li^Lat. Syr. Arm. have here an addition ; see Appx, 


The Marriage of Joseph and Asenath. 

XXI. And Joseph stayed that day with Pente- 
phres, and he went not in to Asenath, for that he 
was wont to say : " It is not meet for a man who 
worshippeth God to sleep with his wife before his 
marriage." And Joseph rose early and departed 
to Pharaoh and said to him : " Give me Asenath, 
daughter of Pentephres, priest of Heliopolis, to 
wife." And Pharaoh ^rejoiced with great joy, and 
he^ saith to Joseph : " Lo ! hath not this one been 
betrothed unto thee to wife from eternity ? Accord- 
ingly let her be thy wife henceforth and unto time 
eternal." Then Pharaoh sent and called Pente- 
phres, and Pentephres brought Asenath and set 
her before Pharaoh ; and Pharaoh when he saw 
her marvelled at her beauty and said : '* The Lord 
God of Joseph shall bless thee, child, and this thy 
beauty shall remain to eternity, for that the Lord 
God of Joseph chose thee as bride for him : for 
Joseph is as the son of the Most High, and thou 
shalt be called "^his bride ^ henceforth and for 
ever." And after these things Pharaoh took 
Joseph and Asenath and set golden wreaths upon 
their heads, which were in his house from of 
old and from ancient times, and Pharaoh set 
Asenath at Joseph's right hand. And Pharaoh 

Lat. Syr. Arm. om. ; Slav. om. all to " Pharaoh " (1. 13). 
[^r^Or "his daughter-in-law" ; Slav, "daughter of the Most 
rTTgh " ; Syr. " daughter of the Lord and his bride " ; 
similarly Arm.; Lat. om. all after " him " to end of sentence. 


put his hands upon their heads ^ and said : 
"The Lord God Most High shall bless you and 
shall multiply ""and magnify ^ and glorify you unto 
time eternal." Then Pharaoh turned them round 
to face one another and brought them mouth to 
mouth, and they kissed one another. And Pharaoh 
made a wedding for Joseph and a great dinner 
and much drinking during seven days, and he 
called together all the rulers of Egypt and all the 
kings of the nations, having made proclamation 
in the land of Egypt, saying : " Every man v^ho 
shall do work during the seven days of the 
wedding of Joseph and Asenath shall surely die." 
And, while the wedding was going on, and when 
the dinner was ended, Joseph went in to Asenath, 
and Asenath conceived by Joseph and bare 
Manasses and Ephraim his brother in Joseph's 

Asenath is introduced to Jacob. 

XXII. And, when the seven years of plenty had 
passed, the seven years of famine began to come. 
And, when Jacob heard about Joseph his son, he 
came into Egypt with all his kindred in the 
second year of the famine, in the second month, 
on the twenty-first of the month, and settled in 
Geshem. And Asenath said to Joseph : '' I will 
go and see thy father, for that thy father Israel is 

'7 c^ JL- --^ rO^at. ins. "and his right hand was on Asenath's head" ; 
*** _^^ siijiilarly Arm. 

Versions om. 

Lat. Syr. Arm. have here an insertion ; see Appx. 


as my '' father and God."^ And Joseph said to 
her : '' Thou shalt go with me and see my father." 
And Joseph and Asenath came to Jacob in the 
land of Geshem, and Joseph's brethren met them 
and made obeisance to them upon their faces on 
the earth. Then both went in to Jacob ; and 
Jacob was sitting upon his bed, and he himself 
was an old man in a lusty old age. And, when 
Asenath saw him, she marvelled at his beauty, for 
that Jacob was beautiful to behold exceedingly 
and his old age as the youth of a comely man, 
and all his head was white like snow, and the 
hairs of his head were all close and thick exceed- 
ingly,2 and his beard white reaching to his breast, 
his eyes cheerful and glistering, his sinews and 
his shoulders and his arms as of an angel, his 
thighs and his calves and his feet as of a giant' 
Then Asenath, when she saw him thus, marvelled 
•"and fell down* and made obeisance on her face 
upon the earth. And Jacob said to Joseph : *' Is 
this my daughter-in-law, thy wife? Blessed shall 
she be of God Most High." Then Jacob called 
Asenath to himself and blessed her and kissed her 
tenderly ; and Asenath stretched out her hands 
a.nd took hold of Jacob's neck and hung on to 
his neck and kissed him tenderly.^ And after 

(^^at. Syr. Arm. " God"; Slav, "father." 

>yr. ins. " as of an Ethiopian " ; Arm. " as of an Indian " ; 

om. clause. 
^Syr. ins. "and Jacob was as a man who fighteth with 
Gp4"; similarly Arm. 

.at. Syr. Arm. om. ; Slav. om. all to "neck." 

>yr. ins. "as one who returneth from war to his house 
after a long time" ; similarly Arm. 


these things they ate and drank. And thereupon 
both Joseph and Ascnath went to their house ; 
and Simeon and Levi, the sons of Leah, alone 
conducted them forth, but the sons of Balla and 
Zelpha, the handmaids of Leah and Rachel, did 
not join in conducting them forth, for that they 
envied and detested them. And Levi was at 
Asenath's right and Simeon^ at her left. And 
Asenath took hold of Levi's hand, for that she 
loved him exceedingly above all Joseph's brethren 
and as a prophet and a worshipper of God and 
one who feared the Lord. For he was an under- 
standing man and a prophet of the Most High, 
and he himself saw letters written in heaven "^and 
read them^ and revealed them to Asenath in 
secret ; for that Levi himself also loved Asenath 
much and saw the place of her rest in the highest.^ 

Pharaoh's Son tries to induce Simeon and 
Levi to kill Joseph. 

XXI IL And it came to pass as Joseph and 
Asenath were passing by, '"when they were going 
to Jacob,* Pharaoh's firstborn son saw them from 
the wall, and, when he saw Asenath, he became 
mad upon her by reason of her surpassing ^ 

C^D versions " Joseph." 

^yr. " written with the finger of God, and he knew the 
idden things of God that were revealed to him." In Lat. 
Arm. the sentence is much shorter. 

^I'Syr. ins. "and her eternal walls of adamant and her 
foundations firmly laid aforetime on the stone of the rock in 
the. seven heavens" ; similarly Arm. 
_i B Syr. Arm. Slav, om.; Lat. " Ph.'s house" for "Jacob." 
(^Versions om. 



beauty.^ Then Pharaoh's son sent messengers, 
and called Simeon and Levi to him ; and, when 
they came and stood before him, Pharaoh's firstborn 
son saith to them : " I for my part know that ye 
are to-day mighty men above all men upon the 
earth, and with these right hands of yours the city 
of the Sicimites was overthrown, and with your 
two swords 30,000 warriors were cut down. And 
I to-day will take you to myself as companions 
and give you much gold and silver and serving- 
men and handmaids and houses and great inherit- 
ances, ^and contend ye on my side and do me 
kindness ; ^ for that I received great despite from 
your brother Joseph, since he himself took Asenath 
to wife, and this woman was betrothed to me from 
of old. And now come with me, and I will fight 
against Joseph to slay him with my sword, and 
I will take Asenath to wife, and ye shall be to me 
as brethren and faithful friends. But, if ye shall 
'"not hearken to my words, I will slay you with 
my sword." ^ And, when he had said these things, 
he drew out his sword and showed it to them.* 
And Simeon was a bold and daring man, and he 
thought to lay his right hand upon the hilt of his 

CCSyr. ins. "saying, 'Wherefore is it thus.'"" ; Arm. "and 
said, ' It shall not be thus' " ; Lat. "and was distressed, and 
g^f he knew not what to do." 

r ' r^-'Syr. " only I require you to do one thing for me in love " ; 
■"""'^^^ijiiilarly Lat. Arm.; Slav. om. "and with . . . sword." 
(fi^^ ^ Syr. "hesitate and hinder and reject this thing, lo ! this 
i-^^"^^ my lance-point shall be drawn against you " ; similarly Lat. 
Arm. ; Lat. om. ff. to p. 66, 1. 10 ; Slav, (for "ye shall be . . . 
y- fofNCvil ") " I will do for you whatever you wish." 
j^J^U-^Syr. Arm. have here an insertion; see Appx. 


sword and draw it from the sheath thereof and 
smite Pharaoh's son for that he had spoken hard 
words to them. Levi then saw the thought of his 
heart, because he was a prophet/ and trod with 
his foot on Simeon's right foot and pressed it, 
sienine to him to cease from his wrath. And Levi 
was saying quietly to Simeon : " Wherefore art 
thou angry against this man ? We are men who 
worship God and it is not meet for us to render evil 
for evil." Then Levi said to Pharaoh's son openly 
with mildness of heart : " Wherefore speaketh our 
lord these words ? We are men who worship God, 
and our father is a friend of God Most High, and 
our brother is as a son of God. And how shall 
we do this wicked thing, to sin in the sight of our 
God and of our father Israel and in the sight ot 
our brother Joseph ? And now hear my words. 
It is not meet for a man who worshippeth God to 
injure any man in any wise ; and, if any wisheth 
to injure a man who worshippeth God, that man 
who worshippeth God avengeth not himself upon 
him, rforthat there is no sword in his hands.^ And 
do thou beware of speaking any more these words 
about our brother Joseph. But, if thou continuest 
in thine evil counsel, lo ! our swords are drawn 
against thee." Then Simeon and Levi drew their 
swords from their sheaths and said: " Seest thou 
now these swords ? With these two swords the 

^^MI.jL-'^( ^ ^'Syr. ins. "and a seer and his eyes were open"; Arm. 
^ "and saw by the purity of his mind and read with his eyes 

what was written in a man's heart.' 
— OjSyr. "sword in hand" ; Arm. "because there is a sword 

in his hands" ; B D Lat. Slav. om. sentence. 


Lord punished the despite of the Sicimites, where- 
with they did despite to the sons of Israel through 
our sister Dinah, whom Sychem the son of Hamor 
defiled." And Pharaoh's son, when he saw the 
swords drawn, feared exceedingly and trembled 
over all his body, for that they glittered like a 
flame of fire, and his eyes became dim, and he fell 
upon his face on the earth beneath their feet. 
Then Levi stretched out his right hand and took 
hold of him, saying : " Stand up and fear not, only 
beware of speaking any more any evil word con- 
cerning our brother Joseph." And so both Simeon 
and Levi went out from before his face. 

Pharaoh's Son conspires with Dan and Gad to 
kill Joseph and seize Asenath. 

XXIV. Pharaoh's son then continued to be 
full of fear and grief for that he feared Joseph's 
brethren, and again he was exceedingly mad by 
reason of Asenath's beauty, and grieved greatly. 
Then his serving-men say in his ear : " Lo ! the 
sons of Balla and the sons of Zelpha, the hand- 
maids of Leah and Rachel, Jacob's wives, are at 
great enmity against Joseph and Asenath and 
hate them ; these will be unto thee in all things 
according to thy will." Straightway therefore 
Pharaoh's son sent messengers and called them, 
and they came to him ^at the first hour of the^ 
night, and they stood in his presence, and he saith 
to them; ''^I have learned from many that^ ye 

tjii.--^B D Syr. Arm. Slav, "by" ; Lat. om. 1. 27-p. 68, 1. 9. 
^i_ (^ Syr. Arm. om ; Slav. " I see that.'' 



are mighty men." And Dan and Gad, the elder 
brethren, said to him : '* Let my lord now speak to 
his serving-men what he wisheth, that thy serving- 
men may hear and we may do according to thy 
will." Then Pharaoh's son rejoiced with exceeding 
great joy and said to his serving-men : " Withdraw 
now for a short space from me, for that I have 
secret speech to hold with these men." And they 
all withdrew. Then Pharaoh's son lied, and he 
saith to them : " Lo ! now blessing and death arc 
before your faces; do ye therefore take the blessing 
rather than the death, because ye are mighty men 
and will not die as women ; but be brave and 
avenge yourselves upon your enemies. For I have 
heard Joseph your brother saying to Pharaoh 
my father : * ""Dan and Gad and Nephthalim and 
Asher^ are not my brethren, but children of my 
father's handmaids : I wait therefore for my father's 
death, and will blot them out from the earth and 
all their issue, lest they should inherit with us, 
because they are children of handmaids. For these 
also sold me to the Ishmaelites, and 1 will render 
unto them again according to their despite which 
they wickedly committed against me; only my 
father shall die.' And my father Pharaoh com- 
mended him for these things and said to him : 
' Thou hast well spoken, child. Accordingly, take 
from me mighty men ^and proceed against them 
according to what they wrought against thee,^ and 

C*>Syr. " The sons of B. and Z." ; Lat. Arm. " they " ; Slav. 
" p. and G." 

\ Syr. Arm. om. ; Lat. om. " Thou . . . thee, and." 


I will be a helper to thee.' " And when Dan 
and Gad heard these things from Pharaoh's son 
they were much troubled, and grieved exceedingly, 
and they said to him : " We pray thee, lord, help 
us ; I" for henceforth we are thy slaves and bond- 
men and will die with thee." ^ And Pharaoh's son 
said : " I will be a helper to you if ye also will 
hearken to my words." And they said to him : 
"''Command us what thou wishest^ and we will 
do according to thy will." And Pharaoh's son 
saith to them : " I will slay my father Pharaoh this 
night, for that Pharaoh is as Joseph's father and 
said to him that he would help against you ; and 
do ye slay Joseph, and I will take Asenath to 
myself to wife, and ye shall be my brethren and 
fellow-heirs of all my possessions. Only do this 
thing." And Dan and Gad said to him : " We are 
thy serving-men to-day and will do all things that 
thou hast commanded us. And we have heard 
Joseph saying to Asenath : ' Go to-morrow to the 
possession of our inheritance, for that it is the 
season of the vintage ' ; and he sent six hundred 
men mighty to war with her and fifty forerunners. 
Now therefore hear us and we will speak unto our 
lord." And they spake to him all their secret 
words. Then Pharaoh's son gave the four brethren 
five hundred men each and appointed them their 
chiefs and leaders. And Dan and Gad said to 
him : " We are thy serving-men to-day and will 

l^zi-^B Lat. Syr. Arm. om. ; Slav. om. all to " him." 

fn (^ jCySyr. " Lo ! we stand before thee as thy bondsmen. 

Speak " ; similarly Lat. Arm. Slav. 




do all the things that thou hast commanded us, 
and we will set forth by night and lie in wait in 
the ravine and hide ourselves in the thicket of the 
reeds; and do thou take with thyself fifty bowmen 
upon horses and go a long way before us,^ and 
Asenath will come and fall into our hands, and we 
will cut down the men that are with her, and she 
herself will flee before with her chariot and fall 
into thine hands and thou shalt do to her as thy 
soul desireth ; and after these things we will slay 
Joseph also while he is grieving for Asenath ; like- 
wise also his children will we slay before his eyes." 
Pharaoh's firstborn ^ son then, when he heard 
these things, rejoiced exceedingly, and he sent 
them forth and two thousand fighting men with 
them. And when they came to the ravine they 
hid themselves in the thicket of the reeds, and 
they divided ""into four companies,^ and took up 
their station ""on the far side of the ravine as in the 
front part/ five hundred men on this side ""of the 
road ^ and on that, ^and on the near side ^ of the 
ravine ""likewise the rest remained, and they them- 
selves also took up their station in the thicket ot 
the reeds, five hundred men on this side and on 
that of the road ; ^ and between them was a broad 
and wide road. 

follow D Lat. Syr. Arm. ; Batiffol " her." Slav. om. 

i D versions om. 

D Lat. Syr. Arm. om. ; Slav. om. "and they . . . 
' Versions om. 

ersions om. ; Slav. om. ff. to "road." 

at. Syr. Arm. om. 


Pharaoh's Son goes to kill his Father, but is not 
admitted. Nephthalim and Asher protest 
to Dan and Gad against the Conspiracy. 

XXV. Then Pharaoh's son rose up the same 
night and came to his father's bed-chamber to slay 
him with the sword. His father's guards thereupon 
hindered him from coming in to his father and said 
to him : " What commandest thou, lord ? " And 
Pharaoh's son said to them : " I wish to sec my 
father, for that I am going to gather the vintage of 
my new-planted vineyard." And the guards said 
to him : " Thy father suffereth pain and lay awake 
the whole night and now resteth, and he said to us 
that no one was to come in to him ' not even if it 
is my firstborn son.'" And he on hearing these 
things went away in wrath and straightway ^ took 
mounted bowmen fifty in number and went away 
before them as Dan and Gad had said to him.^ 
And the younger brethren Nephthalim and Asher 
spake to their elder brethren Dan and Gad, saying : 
" Wherefore do ye on your part again work wicked- 
ness against your father Israel and against your 
brother Joseph ? And God preserveth him as the 
apple of an eye. Lo ! did ye not once sell Joseph ? 
and he is king to-day of all the land ^of Egypt ^ 
and food-giver. Now therefore, if ye again wish to 
work wickedness against him, he will ""cry unto the 

r^^B D versions om. 

3For fF. to p. 75, 1. 9, Arm. has a short epitome only. Lat, 
o^ rest of ch. 
^=^-^{^D Syr. Slav. om. 




Most High/ and he will send fire from heaven 
and it will devour you, and the angels of God will 
fight against you." Then ^ the elder brethren were 
moved to anger against them and said : " And shall 
we die as women ? ^Far be it." And they went 
out to meet Joseph and Asenath.^ 

The Conspirators kill Asenath's Guards 
and she flees. 

XXVI. And Asenath rose in the morning and 
said to Joseph : " I am going to the possession of 
our inheritance as thou hast said ; but my soul 
feareth exceedingly * for that thou art parting from 
me." And Joseph said to her : " Be of good cheer 
and be not afraid, but rather go away '"rejoicing, 
in dread of no man whatsoever,^ for that the Lord 
is with thee and he himself will preserve thee as 
the apple of an eye from every evil. And I will 
set forth for my giving of food and will give to all 
the men ^in the city,^ and no man shall perish of 
hunger in the land ''of Egypt." ^ Then Asenath 
departed on her way, and Joseph ""for his giving 
of food.' And, when Asenath reached the place 
of the ravine with the six hundred men, suddenly 
they ""who were with Pharaoh's son ^ came forth 
from their ambush and joined battle with those 
who were with Asenath, and cut them all down 

yr. "go up to heaven" ; Slay.." crvto heaven," 
, D Syr. Slav. " And.'liii£!iiiZ---(?\Syr. Slav, c 

B D Syr. Slav. " Axidi:'..JJ;CU^,2.^K^yY. biav. om. 
B D Lat. Syr. om. ; Slay. , cm. " but . . . whatsoever." 
B D Lat. Syr. om. ^ '/ -i 7 ^ Lat. Syr. Slav. om. 
Lat. Syr. om. ; SiaXTmnT clause. 


with their swords, and all her forerunners they 
slew, but Asenath fled with her chariot.^ Then 
Levi, ''the son of Leah, knew all these things ^ rj^y 
the spirit ^ ^as a prophet and ^ told his brethren of 
Asenath's danger, and straightway * each of them 
took his sword upon his thigh and their shields 
upon their arms and the spears in their right hands 
and pursued after Asenath with great speed. And, 
as Asenath was fleeing before, lo ! Pharaoh's son 
met her and fifty horsemen with him : and Asenath, 
when she saw him, was seized with very great fear 
and was trembling, and she called upon the name 
of the Lord her God. 

The Men with Pharaoh's Son and those with 
Dan and Gad are killed ; and the four 
Brothers flee to the Ravine and their 
Swords are stricken from their Hands. 

XXVII. And Benjamin was sitting with her 
on the chariot on the right side ; * and Benjamin 
was a strong ^ lad of about nineteen years, and upon 
him was ineffable beauty and might as of a lion's 
whelp, and he was also one who feared God exceed- 
ingly. Then Benjamin leaped down from the 
chariot, and took a round stone from the ravine and 
filled his hand and hurled at Pharaoh's son and 
smote his left temple, and wounded him with a 
grievous wound, and he fell from his horse upon 

Lat. om. rest of ch, ^yrTJ ^ ^^^ Slav. om. 
B D. Syr. Slav. om. 

From this point to the end Lat. has an epitome only. 
Syr. Slav. om. 


the earth half-dead.^ And thereupon Benjamin, 
having run up on to a rock, saith to Asenath's 
chariot-man : *' Give me stones from the ravine." 
And he gave him fifty ^ stones. And Benjamin 
hurled the stones and slew the fifty ^ men who 
were with Pharaoh's son, all the stones sinking in 
through their temples. Then the sons of Leah, 
Reuben and Simeon, Levi and Judah, Issachar and 
Zebulon, pursued after the men who had lain in 
wait against Asenath and fell upon them unawares 
and cut them all down ; and the six men slew two 
thousand and seventy-six men. And the sons of 
Balla and Zelpha fled from their face and said : 
" We have perished at the hands of our brethren, 
and Pharaoh's son hath also died by the hand of 
Benjamin the lad, and all who were with him 
perished by the hand of the boy Benjamin. 
Accordingly, therefore, come let us slay Asenath 
and Benjamin and flee to the thicket of these 
reeds." And they came ""against Asenath * hold- 
ing their swords drawn covered with blood. And 
Asenath when she saw them feared greatly and 
said : " Lord God, who quickenedst me ''and de- 
liveredst me ^ from ""the idols and the corruption of ^ 
death, even as thou saidst to me that my soul 
shall live for ever, deliver me now also from these 
wicked men." And the Lord God heard Asenath's 
voice, and straightway the swords of the adversaries 
fell from their hands upon the earth and were 
turned into ashes. --^^^fs 

Slav, om.^" ''£:6yr. "48.»Xi)Syr. Slav. "48." 
D Syr. Slav. om. ^^7% Cl-^y^- ^1^^'- 0"^- 


Dan and Gad are spared at Asenath's 

XXVIII. And the sons of Balla and Zelpha, 
when they saw ''the strange miracle that^ '"had 
been wrought,^ feared and said : " The Lord fighteth 
against us on Asenath's behalf." Then they fell 
upon their faces on the earth and made obeisance 
to Asenath and said : " Have mercy on us thy 
bondmen, for that thou art our mistress and queen. 
We wickedly committed evil deeds against thee 
■"and against our brother Joseph,^ but the Lord 
requited us according to our works. Therefore 
we thy bondmen pray thee, have mercy on us ^the 
lowly and miserable ^ and deliver us from the hands 
of our brethren, for that they will make themselves 
avengers of the despite done to thee and their 
swords are against us.* ''Accordingly be gracious 
to thy bondmen, mistress, before them." ^ And 
Asenath said to them : " Be of good cheer and be 
not ye afraid of your brethren, for that they them- 
selves are men who worship God and fear the 
Lord ; ^ but go into the thicket of these reeds until 
I shall appease them on your behalf and stay their 
wrath on account of the great crimes which ye on 
your part have dared to commit against them. But 
the Lord ''see and ® judge between me and you." 

O BD "what"; Syr. "thi§"; Slav, "this great thing." 
rr. Slav. om. "^^t£A_XJL B D Syr. Slav. om. 
B ins. "And we know that our brethren are men who 
ip God and render not evil for evil to any man." 

CySyr. Arm. ins. " and are humble before every man." 

T^^^^2^ D Syr. Arm. Slav. om. 

76 JOSErH AND ASENATH [xxviii 

Then Dan and Gad fled into the thicket of the 
reeds ; and ^ ''their brethren,- Leah's sons, came 
running like stags ''with great haste ^ •" against 
them.* And Asenath stepped down from the 
chariot that was her covert and gave them her 
right hand with tears, and they themselves fell 
down and made obeisance to her on the earth and 
wept with a loud voice ; and they continued asking 
for their brethren the sons of the handmaids to 
put them to death. And Asenath said to them : 
" I pray you, spare your brethren, and render not 
to them evil for evil. For the Lord saved me from 
them and shattered their ""daggers and ^ swords 
''from out their hands,* and lo ! they have melted 
''and were burned to ashes upon the earth ^ like 
wax from before fire, and this is sufficient ""for us ' 
that the Lord fighteth for us ^against them.® Ac- 
cordingly do ye spare ""your brethren,^ for that they 
are your brethren and the blood of your father 
Israel." And Simeon said to her : " Wherefore 
speaketh our mistress good words on behalf of 
her enemies? Nay but rather^ we will cut them 
down limb from limb with our swords, for that 
they devised evil things concerning^ our brother 
Joseph ^^ and our father Israel and against thee, ''our 

7 </4lZ— (3 B D Syr. Arm. ins. "lo ! " ; Slav. om. " Then . . . blessed 
'^'^^'^ZT^^^^ (P- 78. 1- 15). ^ ^Kf^ 

^nSyr. Arm. om. ^jS^ *if\ cO T^ D Syr. Arm. om. 
Syr. Arm. om . .JJSbl^J^ Syr. "for them "; Arm. om. 
Syr. Arm. "them." 

Syr. ins. "us and " ; Arm. " you and." 
ID ins. "lo! this is the second time'^; similarly Syr. 
rm. "third"). 


mistress,^ to-day." Then Asenath stretched out her 
right hand and touched Simeon's beard and kissed 
him tenderly and said : " In no wise, brother, 
render evil for evil to thy neighbour, for that the 
Lord will avenge this despite. They themselves, 
ye know, are your brethren and the offspring of 
your father Israel,^ and they fled from afar from 
your face. ''Accordingly grant them pardon." ^ 
Then Levi came up to her and kissed her right 
hand tenderly, for that he knew that she was fain 
to save ""the men from their brethren's anger that 
they should not slay them.* And they themselves 
were nigh at hand ^ in the thicket of the reed-bed: 
and Levi ''his brother ^ knowing this did not de- 
clare it to his brethren, for he feared lest in their 
anger they should cut ''their brethren ^ down. 

Pharaoh's Son dies. Pharaoh also dies and 
Joseph succeeds him. 

XXIX. And Pharaoh's son rose from the earth 
and sat up and spat blood from his mouth ; for the 
blood was running down from his temple into his 
mouth. And Benjamin ran up to him and took 
his sword and drew it from Pharaoh's son's sheath 
(for Benjamin was not wearing a sword upon his 
thigh) and wished to smite Pharaoh's son upon 
the breast. Then Levi ran up to him and took 
hold of his hand and said : " In no wise, brother, do 

.j,^ this thing, for that we are men who worship God, 

Vfc7/ _ /T\Cyj.^ ins. " who art queen " ; Arm. "and queen." 
'ersions om. " ^ Syr. Arm. om. 

Syr. Arm. "his brethren." 

*7$fT_S^Syr. ins. "and hiding" ; sirrylarly Arm. 

Sm-^*^^C) Syr. Arm. om. ^ ^yC^M Syr. Arm. "them." 




and it is not meet for a man who worshippeth God 
to render evil for evil, nor to trample upon one 
who hath fallen, nor utterly to crush his ^ enemy 
even unto death. And now put back the sword 
into his place, and come and help me, and let us 
heal him of this wound ; and, if he live, he will 
be our friend and his father Pharaoh will be our 
father." Then Levi raised Pharaoh's son from the 
earth and washed away the blood from his face 
and tied a bandage over his wound and set him 
upon his horse and led him to his father Pharaoh, 
relating to him all the things that had happened 
and befallen. And Pharaoh arose from his throne 
and made obeisance to Levi upon the earth ^and 
blessed him.^ Then, 'when the third day had 
passed,^ Pharaoh's son died * from the stone ^ 
'' wherewith he was wounded by Benjamin.^ And 
Pharaoh mourned for his firstborn son exceedingly, 
whence from the grief Pharaoh fell sick and died 
at 109' years, and he left his diadem to ^the all- 
beauteous ^ Joseph. And Joseph reigned alone in 
Egypt 48 years ; and after these things Joseph 
gave back the diadem to Pharaoh's younger child, 
who was at the breast when the old man Pharaoh 
died. And Joseph was thenceforth as father of 
Pharaoh's younger child in Egypt till his death, 
glorifying and praising God^ C^V^^J ^C/7 7 

B D Syr. Arm. "an.'li^O D Syr. Arn/. om. 
B D Syr. Arm. Slav, "on the third day." (^Arm. ends. 
'3^B D Lat. "wound of the stone"; Syr. "wound"; Slav, 
"wound before recejyed." 
jrt^ i5'B Slav. om. '"'' Lat. "99 
'^jJ-'^^d^^ D Lat- Syr. Slav. om. 

Syr. "177"; Slav. "169." 



I. (After p. 39, 1. 26).i '2/5'^ ' 

Lifting up her hands toward heaven, and 
Asenath feared to open her mouth toward heaven^ 
and utter God's name. She turned again to face 
the wall 3 and sat and beat her breast and head 
with her hands many times, and spake in her heart, 
not opening her mouth, and said : " Am I not 
miserable, an orphan, and desolate ? My mouth is 
defiled by the sacrifices ^of the idols and by bless- 
ing ^ the gods of the Egyptians.^ And now I have 
vexed my body by these my tears and by ashes ; 
still even now I cannot ^ open my mouth f to bless 
thine holy and terrible name, lest perhaps God be 
wroth with me for calling upon his holy name. 
Now what shall I do, I the wretched one ? I will be 
bold and open my mouth to him,'' and, if in anger 
he ^trample upon me, he is able again to heal me ; 

^ Syr. Arm. I follow Arm., which is the longer, giving 
the chief variants. The beginning to " said " (1. 6) is in 
Lat. in a short form, followed by Asenath's second speech. 
^ Syr. ins. "and speak to God Most High." 
,^7*. ' Syr. ins. "containing the window." 
*5V * Syr. "and vanity of." 

'^t ; ^ Syr. ins. " the children of my people." 
i^''"^ « Syr. "will." 
' ^ft ^ "^ Syr. " and call upon the holy name of the merciful God." 




if he chastise me with tortures, he is able to 
comfort me twofold and, while chastising, will 
again renew me in his mercy. If I am sorry by 
reason of my sins, he will be reconciled to me and 
forgive all my sins. Now 1 will be bold and open 
my mouth unto him, perhaps he will have mercy 
upon me and forgive my sins." And Asenath 
turned away from the wall and raised herself upon 
her knees.^ 

II. (After p. 41, 1. io).2 

And the boy throweth his hand round his 
father's neck, and he gaineth strength and 
breatheth again after his fear and resteth upon 
him, ""but his father maketh merry at the childish 
trepidation of his son.^ 

III. (After p. 49, 1. iSy 

And now what is thy name, lord ? ^ tell me, that 
I may bless thee, lord,^ for ever and ever." The 
man ^ saith to her : " My name is in heaven in the 
book of the Most High, written ^from eternity^ 
by the finger of God at the beginning of the writ- 
ings before all, for that I am prince of the ""Most 
High,' and all ''the names ^ whatsoever are written 

^ Syr. " ' chastise me, he is the Lord and he possesseth me, 
and, ii again he smite me, he himself will heal me.' And 
she looked toward heaven." , . ■ '^,_x;s». 

--Syr. Arm. I follow Syn ' '^^'^Arm. om. 
^ Lat. Arm. I follow Arm.,-'^hich is tlie longer^ 

5 Lat. om. 6 Lat. "angel of the Lord." 

' Lat. "house of God.' ' 


in the book of the Most High are fpast finding 
out^ and can neither be heard nor seen by a man 
^in this world,^ for that ^their names ^ are great 
and wonderful ""and glorious ^ exceedingly." And 
Asenath said : 

IV. (After p. 52, 1. 24).* 

And the angel stretched forth his hand and his 
forefinger and laid it on the edge of the comb that 
looked east, and ^ the track ^ of ''his finger '^ was 
turned into blood ; and he stretched forth his hand 
the second time and laid his finger on the edge of 
the comb that looked north, and ® the track ^ of 
•"the finger^ became as blood. And Asenath was 
standing on the left side and beholding all things 
that the angel was doing. 

1 Lat. *' ineffable." 2 Lat. om^ /- 

.^ 3 -Lat. "they." _ ^-- - " 

4 B D versions, i follow B D. From p. 54, 1. 2 (" the third 

time") it seems clear that this passage is origi nal . , . , , - 

fi '^_^Syr. ins. " drew a portion of it to himself. And again 
*T-AX^ he stretched forth his right hand over the comb and 
y^ touched with his finger the western side of the comb, and, as 
he was bringing it near to himself"; Lat. "drew back his 
finger to himself and drew it over the edge of the comb 
that looked west, and"; Arm. "brought it to the side that 
looked west, and." 

" B Arm. Slav. " appearance." 
' Syr. "the honey." 

^ Syr. ins. " drew it to himself, and again on the track of 
the honey there came blood. And again he stretched forth 
his hand and with his finger touched the southern part of the 
comb and brought it toward himself, and again " ; Lat. " put 
in his finger over the part of the honey that looked south, 
and " ; similarly Arm. 


V. (After p. 60, 1. 10).^ 

And Joseph looked upon her hands ^ as the 
hands of Hfc and her fingers as the fingers of a 
scribe skilled ^and beloved.^ 

VI. (After p. 60, 1. 15).* 

And they saw Asyath as the appearance of light 
and her beauty as the beauty of heaven. 

VII. (After p. 62,1. i8).« 

Afterward Asenath said : ^ " I have sinned, Lord, 
I have sinned in thy sight, I have greatly sinned, I 
Asenath daughter of Putifar, priest of Heliopolis,^ 
have sinned, etc. I was ^most vile ^ in my father's 
house and I was a virgin haughty and proud — 
I have sinned, etc. — and I worshipped gods 
whereof is no number and ate bread ^ from their 
sacrifices — I have sinned, etc. — I ate bread that 
sufTocateth and drank the cup of rebellion ^^ from 

^ Versions. I follow Sy^^^ 

^ For the rest Lat. has "that there was no stain in them." 

' Arm. om. 

* Syr. Arm. I follow Syr, ; Lat. "And they saw Asenath 
and stood still, since her beauty was wonderful and glorious." 

* Lat. Syr. Arm. I follow Lat, — 

* Syr. Arm. " Asenath's song of confession to God" (Syr. 
ad^. "Most High"). 

Cj \^^ ^Syr. "On, the city of the sun that visiteth all things" ; 

^^ Arm. " The city of the sun that is overseer of all the gods." 
n C^Syr. "peaceful"; Arm. om. "most . . . was." 
^J^^ Q Syr. Arm. om. 

^i '/TO Arm. ins. "and ate"; Syr. (for "the cup . . . pestilence") 
y\\ >* of their lib itions." 


the table ot pestilence — I have sinned, etc. — and 
I knew not the God of heaven nor hoped ^ in the 
Most High God of life — I have sinned, etc. — because 
I hoped in the riches of my glory and upon my 
beauty I was haughty and proud — I have sinned, 
etc. — and I was wont to despise every man ^of the 
land 2 and there was not a man who could stand in 
my sight — I have sinned, etc. — All who wooed me 
I 3 despised and disdained — I have sinned, etc. — 
and I said that there is not a prince of the land who 
should loose my girdle of virginity — I have sinned, 
etc. — but I will be bride of the great king's firstborn 
son — I have sinned, etc. — until Joseph, the mighty 
one of God, came, who * caught me as a fish by a 
hook with his ""beauty and ^ his wisdom ^ and by 
his manliness ^drew me forth ^ and brought me to 
the living and Most High God and ''gave me ^ a 
cup of wisdom and I became a bride unto him 
for ever and ever." 


^ ^Read " speravi" for "operavi " ; so Syr. Arm. 
>» S^ Syr. " who came before me " ; Arm. om. 
^^(J^ Arm. ins. "hated and" ; Syr. om. " I . . . sinned, etc." 
*X,„,43 ^y^- ^^^' " stripped me of my stubbornness and pride and 
^''Mjereft me of my strength and by his beauties ensnared me 
and" ; similarly Arm. 
^Syr. Arm. om. 
6~£La>'^ Syr. ins. "and by his spirit brought me into subjection 
.'--'^to life" ; Arm. "and by the spirit gave me a potion of life 

. to drink." 
^>--^Syr. Arm. "strengthened me." 

*''^*'X^ Arm. " gave me bread of life to eat and " ; Syr. " through 
the chief-captain of the Most High bread of life was given 
me and." 


VIII. (After p. 65, 1. 22).^ 

And, when the men Simeon and Levi heard 
these things which Pharaoh's firstborn rcbelliously 
spake, they were sore amazed. 

^ Syr. Arm. I follow Syr^^ 


A Series of texts important for the study oj 
Christian origins^ by various authors 


The Rev. W. O. E. OESTERLEY, D.D. 


The Rev. CANON G. H. BOX, M.A. 

THE object of the Series is to provide short, 
cheap, and handy text-books for students, 
either working by themselves or in classes. The 
aim is to furnish in translations important texts 
unencumbered by commentary or elaborate notes, 
which can be had in larger works. 


Palestinian-Jewish and Cognate Texts 

1 . Aramaic Papyri. A. E. Cowley, Litt.D., Sub- 

Librarian of the Bodleian Library, Oxford. 

2. The Wisdom of Ben-Sira (Ecclesiasticus). 

The Rev. W. O. E. Oesterley, D.D., 
Vicar of St. Alban's, Bedford Park, W. ; 
Examining Chaplain to the Bishop of 

3. The Book of Enoch. The Rev. R. H. 

Charles, D.D., Canon of Westminster. 

4. The Book of Jubilees. The Rev. Canon 


5. The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs. 

The Rev. Canon Charles. 

6. The Odes and Psalms of Solomon. The 

Rev. G. H. Box, M.A., Rector of Sutton, 
Beds., Hon. Canon of St. Albans. 

7. The Ascension of Isaiah. The Rev. Canon 


8. The Apocalypse of Ezra (ii. Esdras). The 

Rev. Canon Box. 

9. The Apocalypse of Baruch. The Rev. Canon 


10. The Apocalypse of Abraham. The Rev. 

Canon Box. 

1 1. The Testaments of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 

The Rev. Canon Box and S. Gazelee. 

12. The Assumption of Moses. The Rev. W. J. 

Ferrar, M.A., Vicar of Holy Trinity, East 


13. The Biblical Antiquities of Philo. M. R. 

James, Litt.D., F.B.A., Hon. Litt.D., 
Dublin, Hon. LL.D. St. Andrews, Provost 
of King's College, Cambridge. 

14. Lost Apocrypha of the Old Testament. 

M. R. James, Litt.D. 

Now Ready— Ms, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 8, 7 and 10 (in one vol.), 
9 and 12 (in one vol.), and No. 13. 


Hellenistic-Jewish Texts 

1. The Wisdom of Solomon. The Rev. Dr. 


2. The Sibylline Oracles (Books iii— v). The 

Rev. H. N. Bate, M.A., Vicar of Christ 
Church, Lancaster Gate, W. ; Examining 
Chaplain to the Bishop of London. 

3. The Letter of Aristeas. H. St. John Thack- 

eray, M.A., King's College, Cambridge. 

4. Selections from Philo. J. H. A. Hart, M.A. 

5. Selections from Josephus. H. St. J. Thack- 

eray, M.A. 

6. The Third and Fourth Books of Maccabees. 

The Rev. C. W. Emmet, B.D., Vicar of 
West Hendred, Berks. 

7. The Book of Joseph and Asenath. Translated 

from the Greek text (for the first time in 
English) by E. W. Brooks. 

Now Ready— lios. 1, 2, 3, 6 and 7. 


Palestinian-Jewish and Cognate Texts 

"^i. Pirqe Aboth. The Rev. Dr. Oesterley. 
2. Berakhoth. The Rev. A. Lukyn Williams, 
*3. Yoma. The Rev. Canon Box. 
*4. Shabbath. The Rev. Dr. Oesterley. 
^^^5. Sanhedrin. Rev. H. Danby. 
*6. Qimchi's Commentary on the Psalms (Book 
I, Selections). The Rev. R. G. Finch, B.D. 

7. Tamid 10. Sopherim 13. Taanith 

8. Aboda Zara 11. Megilla 14. Megillath 
Q. Middoth 12. Sukka Taanith 

* It is proposed to publish these texts first by way of 
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others will follow. 

Jewish Literature and Christian Origins : 
Vol. I. The Apocalyptic Literature. 
„ II. A Short Survey of the Literature of 
Rabbinical Judaism. 
By the Revs. Dr. Oesterley and Canon Box. 

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